Varicose Veins: All You Need to Know

What are Varicose Veins?

varicose-vein-leg-photo-01Have you noticed large bulging veins on your legs? If so, it’s likely that these bluish-purple bulges are varicosities or varicose veins. You are not alone as more than 23% of US adults suffer from varicose veins. The data translates into the fact that 1 in 4 adults have or will develop varicose veins.

Varicose veins are the twisted, misshaped veins that become enlarged and dilated. Usually, your leg veins get affected the most because of the increased pressure in the lower body veins. The veins, over-filled with blood, appear swollen and have a bluish-purple color. Varicose veins can be painful in some cases.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

While this venous disorder has many symptoms, the most visible is the twisted veins in your legs. Also, you may experience pain or swelling around the dilated veins. Here are signs that you should not ignore.

  • Veins appearing blue, dark purple, or red
  • Bulging and twisted veins (mostly on the legs) which can look like cords

In case of severe varicose veins, you may develop these symptoms:

  • Aching in the legs
  • Heaviness in the legs; especially after some exercise
  • Discoloration of the skin (turning brown or blue)around the varicose vein
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Muscle cramps while standing up suddenly
  • Heaviness after standing or sitting for a long period
  • Varicose veins may lead to spider veins
  • Lipodermatosclerosis –Skin fat above your ankle may become hard causing the skin to become thin
  • Significant bleeding in the veins
  • Ulcers around the ankles

How do Varicose Veins Occur?

There is a complex network of veins running through the human body — the arteries transport blood from the heart to the tissues. The veins then return blood to your heart for blood recirculation. The veins in your legs act against gravity to return the blood to the heart.

However, when veins don’t function properly, symptoms of varicose veins occur. Weak or damaged valves in the veins affect healthy blood flow. Rather than flowing towards your heart, blood begins to accumulate in the veins. As a result, the veins enlarge.

The circulation network in your legs is more likely to experience varicose veins as they are the farthest from the heart. Because of gravity, it becomes harder for the blood to flow in an upward direction.

  • There is a genetic predisposition to develop veins. 60-70% of patients with varicose veins have a family history of veins more frequent on the mother’s side.
  • Varicose veins are more common in women than men; pregnancy and menopause can cause varicose veins
  • Overweight or obsess people have a higher risk of varicose veins
  • With aging your vein valves become weak due to wear and tear, thereby making you prone to varicose veins
  • Standing for too long also dilates the veins.

Diagnosis

diagnosis-varicose-veins-02

For diagnosis, the doctor physically examines your legs as you stand. Your doctor may inquire about the symptoms, such as aching or heavy feeling in the legs.

Also, your doctor may conduct an ultrasound to identify any abnormality in the functioning of the vein valves. He may find some evidence of obstruction, such as a blood clot in the vein.

For further examination, the radiologist may perform a venogram on your legs. During the procedure, a special type of dye is injected in the affected leg and X-rays are taken. A more modern and effective test is called a MRV (Magnetic Resonance of the Veins) usually reserve for deep venous systems or complicated cases.

Treatment

best-treatment-varicose-veins-nyc-03Adopting a healthy lifestyle and tweaking some habits can help you prevent varicose veins. For instance, daily exercise can improve blood circulation. A healthy diet helps to maintain a healthy weight, thereby reducing your chances of forming varicose veins.

If your job requires you to stand for long periods, consider taking breaks. You may walk around or sit for some time. More important the doctor may also advise you to wear compression socks or stockings. However, if the varicose veins become worse and cause pain, you may have to undergo treatment.

Sclerotherapy

painless-sclerotherapy-vein-treatment-04During the sclerotherapy procedure, the doctor injects a solution or foam in small or medium sized varicose veins. The foam scars the varicose veins and closes them. The doctor may repeat the procedure on the same or other veins.

The treated area will bruise and the veins will fade away within a few weeks. Sclerotherapy is a painless procedure and does not require anesthesia. Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for small and medium size varicose veins if properly performed.

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)

This procedure was developed and patented at The Vein Treatment Center © by vein treatment pioneer Dr. Luis Navarro.

In the office under local anesthesia a small laser fiber is introduced into the vein and with laser energy, the vein is closed. The procedure takes around 25 minutes, bandages applied, and patient can resume their normal activities within the same or next day.

This procedure is often combined with a Mini-Phlebectomy of the small branches. Afterwards, Sclerotherapy is used to remove the remaining spider veins.

Mini-Phlebectomy

mini-phlebectomy-vein-treatment-nyc-05This is procedure to removed small or medium sized veins, or so called perforators.

Under local anesthesia, through tiny incisions, and with small hooks, the veins are removed. The procedure takes around 20 minutes, dressings are applied, and the patient may resume normal activities the same day.

Vein Ligation and Stripping

Almost abandoned since the development of Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT) by Dr. Luis Navarro, chief vascular doctor at The Vein Treatment Center ©.

In the hospital, under general anesthesia, an incision is made at the groin, and the main vein is disconnected in the deep system. Through another incision at the ankle or knee, a wire is passed through the vein and up to the groin, and the vein is stripped.

The patient is given anesthesia before the treatment. The surgeon marks incisions in the skin, cuts the enlarged vein, and then removes it. The procedure may causes bleeding, bruising, and pain. However, a patient will recover in 3-4 weeks post-surgery.

Varicose Veins: Contact The Vein Treatment Center ©

Even if you don’t feel pain, but enlarged veins are visible, you should see a vein doctor. In severe cases such as swollen and bulging leg veins, you might need to undergo a minimally invasive procedure. For painless sclerotherapy, EVLA, mini-plebectomy, or laser therapy for veins, contact the Vein Treatment Center © and schedule an appointment with the best vascular specialists in NYC.

The Vein Treatment Center ©
327 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
212-249-6117

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