What are Varicose Veins and what causes them?
Veins carry blood from various parts of our body toward the heart through a one-way valve pipes call veins. When there is a weakness in the vein wall or a faulty valve, the valve stretches and no longer closes properly. The veins become visibly enlarged, filled with blood that does not flow normally, causing pain, swelling, discoloration, sores that won’t heal, blood clots and other problems, in addition to their unsightly appearance.
These enlarged veins are commonly called Spider veins or varicose veins. Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are larger distended veins that are located somewhat deeper than spider veins. Reticular veins are medium size, greenish , non bulging, yet abnormally visible veins, seen most commonly behind the knees and on the outer surface of the thighs, and they represent an early stage varicose veins.
There are many factors that contribute to the development of these unsightly veins including pregnancy, weight gain, prolonged standing, and genetics.
Heredity is the number one contributing factor causing varicose and spider veins. Women are more likely to suffer from these abnormal leg veins. Up to 50% of American women may be affected. Hormonal factors including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and the use of birth control pills, Estrogen, and Progesterone ( female hormones ) affect the disease. It is very common for pregnant women to develop varicose veins during the first trimester. Pregnancy causes increases in hormone levels and blood volume which in turn cause veins to enlarge. In addition, the enlarged uterus causes increased pressure on the veins. Varicose veins due to pregnancy often improve within 3 months after delivery. However, with successive pregnancies, these abnormal veins are more likely to remain.
Varicose and spider veins frequently cause pain in the affected area. Symptoms include fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, and restlessness of the legs. Leg swelling can occur. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to eczema, inflammations or even ulcerations, thickening of the skin and brownish pigmentations of the lower legs and ankles. Without varicose vein therapy increasing pain, welling, bleeding, clots, phlebitis ( Inflammation of the veins ) and chronic ulcers on the ankle can occur.
Vein disorders are not always visible; therefore diagnostic techniques are important tools in determining the cause and severity of the problem. In addition to a physical examinations, noninvasive Colored Venous Doppler Ultrasound and Vein-light tests are often used.
During the initial consultation, The VeinCure Clinic Specialist Surgeon will discuss the symptoms of varicose veins and perform Ultrasound examination of the lower limb varicose veins to identify each patient’s abnormal circulation. This diagnostic test enables the Doctor to choose and explain to you the varicose vein treatment which will give the best results possible.