Studies have shown that varicose vein disease occurs in 10-20 out of every 100 men and 25-33 out of every 100 women. in most patients It develops without any underlying medical conditions and for no reason. In some cases, it is related to lifestyle, age, and often to pregnancy.
Varicose veins generally do not have symptoms or complications. However, for most patients, it Is perceived as a cosmetic problem. For many, varicose veins are a reason to hide limbs. They refuse to wear short clothes and do any activity in public where their limbs could appear.
In rare cases, we experience a disease complication that is more than a cosmetic problem and is presented by hemodynamic disorder, Skin pigmentation disorder, bleeding from varicose veins, varicose thrombosis, and venous ulcer. Treatment includes both conservative and surgical methods.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged, palpable subcutaneous veins with reversed blood flow. Varicose veins most frequently develop in the legs. It is less noticeable in overweight patients because well-developed fatty tissue covers the varicose veins under the skin. The main symptoms of the varicose veins are swollen legs, pain, the feeling of heaviness, and a burning sensation.
What is the mechanism of varicose veins?
The venous system of the lower extremities is differentiated as deep and superficial veins. Their function is to return blood from the limbs to the heart. The venous system has numerous, valvular apparatuses and their damage causes reflux (reversing blood in the opposite direction). As considered, the vein wall is weakened and thinned in some sections for various reasons. These areas expand over time and become noticeable. If these processes develop near the venous valve, the valve may be damaged, and blood circulation may be disrupted in one direction, leading to blood retention (venous stasis) and worsening the process of venous dilation.
What are the common causes of varicose veins?
The common causes of varicose veins are as follows:
- Inheritable factor;
- Standing or sitting for a long time;
- Injuries and surgeries on the lower extremities;
- Prolonged use of high-heeled shoes;
- Hormonal imbalance;
What are the varicose veins’ symptoms?
Varicose veins can cause a feeling of heaviness and swollen lower extremities, especially around the ankles, tight and itchy skin. Usually, symptoms are worse at the end of the day — especially after prolonged sitting or standing. Sometimes varicose veins are the cause of calf muscles pain and cramps. Warm weather often worsens the condition.
The size of the varicose veins doesn’t always indicate the severity of the symptoms. For example, varicose veins, which do not look bad, can cause great trouble, while large varicose veins can exist without any particular symptoms.
What are varicose veins complications?
- Red and itchy skin on the lower extremities;
- Skin color change in the shin area;
- Thick and hard skin around the shin (lipodermatosclerosis).
Also, one of the common complications of varicose veins is venous ulcer, which develops in 3-6% of patients.
Rarely we may encounter bleeding from a varicose vein, varicose vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis.
How to prevent varicose veins?
- Be active, walk regularly;
- While sitting on a chair, bring your lower limbs to a height (US style of sitting);
- The heel height of the shoe should not be more than 2-4 cm;
- Take a contrast shower on the lower extremities – alternating between warm and cool water;
- Avoid sports that overload your legs;
- Reduce tobacco consumption;
- Control your weight.
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
The varicose veins are easy to detect due to their typical manifestations. It is necessary to visit an angiologist and perform a duplex scan to diagnose varicose veins.
What are the remedies for managing and treating varicose veins?
Some people with varicose veins don’t require treatment because they have no Clinical complications. The visual is not principal for everyone. The necessity for treatment may arise for several reasons:
- When a complication develops – skin pigmentation and thickening (lipodermatosclerosis), which is a forerunner to venous ulcers;
- Developed venous ulcer, Bleeding from a varicose vein;
- Swollen limbs, itchy skin, feeling of heaviness, easy fatigue.
- Cosmetic reason
Conservative and surgical treatments
Conservative treatment includes:
- Compression therapy (first and the second class of gaiters is commonly used. Ideal when the gaiters are worn, before getting out of bed);
- Use of venotonic drugs.
Surgical treatment includes:
Mini-invasive surgery (in the form of radiofrequency and laser ablation) is Laser and radio wave ablation of veins. This method has high efficiency and rare postoperative complications. Patients will return to active life in the early postoperative period. They stay in the clinic for only a few hours, and after the operation, they can walk and do everything.
Why choose radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins?
- The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office in less than an hour.
- The procedure has a 98 percent success rate in the treatment of varicose veins.
- It provides immediate relief of symptoms.
- Patients can return to normal activity immediately with little or no pain.
- The procedure requires no general anesthesia or hospitalization.
Open surgery- a popular method is also vein removal. In medical language, it is called phlebectomy. During this operation, small cuts are made to remove the varicose veins. The surgery is quite effective, and after it, the patients feel great. Mostly, it’s outpatient surgery without anesthesia, and patients stay in the clinic for only a few hours.
Sclerotherapy – with a thin insulin needle, a special substance is inserted into a vein, which causes venous sclerosis – burns the damaged vein locally. A scar develops at the site of the sclerosed vein, which disappears after 3-6 weeks of the procedure. Previously, this method was mostly used for small veins, but now it is used to treat large veins too. With sclerotherapy takes three to four months to achieve the full cosmetic effect.