Varicose Veins are a progressive problem affecting 80 million American. Actually about 25 % of the adult population has varicose veins and more than half of these have a family history of them. This often painful condition develops when blood pools in the veins, stretching and twisting them. Women are affected four times more than men. Patients usually notice the onset of varicose veins between the ages of 20-35. Varicose veins have been noted to increase with age. Overweight people have a greater tendency to develop them. Prolonged standing, sitting, leg crossing and long hot showers are other aggravating factors.
What are varicose veins?
normal valves | abnormal reflux flow
Varicose veins are enlarged, weakened, dilated veins that have permanently lost their ability to carry blood from the legs back up to the heart against the force of gravity. As the blood falls back down the leg and pools due to gravity, the veins overfill giving them their typical unsightly bulging appearance. Varicose veins cause tired, heavy, aching, throbbing, swollen legs which are typically worse at the end of the day. Nighttime leg cramps and leg restlessness (sometimes called Restless Leg Syndrome) are also very common problems caused by varicose veins. Treatment of the diseased veins will eliminate these symptoms. If left untreated, varicose veins always worsen over time, and may lead to the formation of blood clots (thrombosis), inflammation of the vein (phlebitis) and inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), and finally ulceration. What are Varicose Veins and reflux (Video 8.5M)
What Causes varicose veins?
Heredity is the number one contributing factor causing varicose veins. A genetic tendency causes veins to weaken and wear out over time. The greater this genetic tendency the sooner it will happen. So regardless of treatment, if you have a strong hereditary predisposition, you will probably form new problems as time goes on. Other contributing factors include pregnancy, obesity, hormone-containing medications, standing for long periods, and traumatic injury to the leg. In most cases, nothing can be done to prevent veins from wearing out, but if effective treatment is given early in the course of the disease, complications like phlebitis, blood clots and ulcerations can be prevented and symptoms relieved.
How are varicose veins treated?
The procedure or combination of procedures of foam sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy or evla, may be recommended is based upon the extent of your specific condition and your overall health and age. The doctor will recommend a duplex ultrasound examination to assess the severity and extent of your vein disease, most of which may not be visible on the surface of the leg. Without an accurate ultrasound map of your veins we cannot determine the source of your problem or treat it effectively.