Varicose veins also known as varicosity is a condition that occurs when the veins become swollen, enlarged, and twisted. They also may appear purple or blue and it often affects the region of the thighs, legs, and ankles. It is estimated that around 25 percent of women and 15 percent of men seek medical help to treat varicosities. These varicose veins can cause a lot of discomfort and aching pain.
Types of varicose vein:
Varicose veins are generally of the following types:
- Spider veins
- Trophic ulcer
- Reticular varices
- Varicose vein trunk
- Chronic venous insufficiency
Causes of varicose vein:
Veins have a single valve that prevents the blood from flowing backward and allows the blood to flow only in one direction, that is towards the heart. Under normal conditions these veins in the legs allow blood to move towards the heart against gravity but if these valves do not function correctly either due to weakness or due to damage, the blood flows backward and gets accumulated in the veins causing them to swell up and make them varicose.
Various other potential causes of varicose veins include:
- Age over 50
- Family history with varicose veins
- Prolonged standing
- Abdominal straining
- Hormonal problem
- Post-phlebitis obstruction or incontinence
- Venous and arteriovenous malformations
Signs and symptoms of varicose vein:
Various signs and symptoms that a person exhibits when he/she has varicose vein are:
- Veins in the legs may look twisted, swollen, and lumpy
- Veins may appear purple or blue
- Some patients may feel pain in the legs
- Lower limbs generally feel heavy at night or after exercise
- Patients may have swollen ankles
- Shiny skin discoloration near the varicose vein
- The skin of the patient may remain itchy, dry, and red in the affected area
- The person may feel leg cramps while standing.
Risk factors for varicose vein:
Here are some factors which increase the risk of developing varicose veins:
- Age: The valve in the vein may get damaged due to aging causing varicosities.
- Sex: Women might develop varicose veins due to hormonal changes before or after periods or during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy: The volume of the blood decreases in the body during pregnancy causing enlarged veins in your legs.
- Family history: If someone in your family has varicose veins then you are at risk for developing the disease.
- Obesity: Being overweight creates a lot of pressure on the veins.
- Standing or sitting for a long period: Standing or sitting for a long time in the same position does not allow blood to flow properly.
Diagnosis of varicose vein:
Doctors will examine your lower limbs and visible veins while standing or in the sitting position to diagnose varicosities. They may also order an ultrasound to check the blood flow through the veins. Sometimes a doctor may order a venogram test in which a special dye is injected into the blood and an x-ray of the area is taken to get a better view of how the blood is flowing.
Treatment for varicose vein:
Doctors will recommend such invasive procedures only if the lifestyle changes are not working or the pain is severe.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (ELVA): This treatment is used to close the varicose vein. The laser used in the treatment generates heat, destroying the vein by causing it to collapse or seal shut. The heat from the laser causes the dilated and abnormal veins to permanently close and disappear. After this procedure, these veins are not used in blood circulation and the body reroutes the blood through healthier veins. Endovenous laser ablation does not affect the healthy tissues of the legs during this treatment.
Advantages of the Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment:
- Faster recovery
- High success rate
- Low recurrence rate
- Less or no scar
- Less Postoperative pain
Other minimally invasive treatment options for varicose veins may include:
- Micro sclerotherapy
- Laser surgery
- Endoscopic vein surgery
Prevention for varicose vein:
There is no way to prevent varicosities but by following a few tips we can prevent and reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. Some measures which we can take are as follows:
- Avoid standing or sitting in the same position for a long period of time
- If you are obese try to maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly to improve your circulation
- Use compression socks or stockings to improve the blood flow.
Complications of varicose veins:
Some complications of varicose vein may include:
- Ulcers: Painful ulcers may develop on the skin with brown pigmentation near the ankles.
- Blood clots: The affected leg may become painful and swell because the veins deep within the legs become enlarged.
- Bleeding: Sometimes minor bleeding occurs at the site as the veins near the skin burst.
Varicosities may worsen over time even if you make necessary lifestyle changes or manage your pain. A varicose vein may cause ulcers or sores on the legs, blood clots, or chronic inflammations in some cases while in severe cases the veins could rupture.
If you develop any of these symptoms you can book an appointment at YASHODA HOSPITALS AND RESEARCH CENTRE, NEHRU NAGAR, GHAZIABAD. They may suggest various treatment options depending on the symptoms, size, and location of the varicose vein.
Some of the best vascular surgeons in Delhi NCR are:
Dr. Prof. (Brig.) Vembu Anand is a distinguished vascular surgeon with 33 years of experience in the Indian Air Force and currently serves as Director of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad. Dr. Anand is renowned for his expertise in complex procedures, he played a key administrative role during the COVID-19 crisis at MH Jalandhar.