For most people varicose veins and spider veins, a common and mild variation of varicose veins, are simply a cosmetic concern. Unfortunately for others, varicose veins can cause significant discomfort and are often a sign of a more serious problem. If you have enlarged veins readily seen under your skin, an achy or heavy feeling in your legs, pain caused by prolonged sitting or standing, or are concerned about how your legs look, you should make an appointment to consult with us. We have taken the time to answer many of our most frequently asked questions below. If you come across terminology that is unfamiliar to you, please refer to our glossary. Should you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.
Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins close to your skin's surface. The name varicose comes from the Latin root varix, which means twisted. Any vein may become varicose, but the most commonly affected areas are legs and feet.
You may have symptoms even before varicose veins appear. Signs and symptoms may include:
Occasionally, veins deep within your legs are involved. In such cases, your limbs may swell considerably. Any sudden leg swelling that may or may not be accompanied by pain and redness warrants urgent medical attention, as it may indicate a blood clot.
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body's tissues. Veins return blood from your body to your heart so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. This is accomplished by muscle contractions in your lower legs – which act as pumps – toned, elastic vein walls that help blood return and tiny one-way valves in your veins. The valves open as blood flows toward your heart and close to stop blood from flowing backward.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins malfunction. As you get older your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch preventing the valves from working properly. When that happens, blood that should be moving toward your heart may flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose.
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
If you're concerned about how your veins look and feel, and self-care measures haven't stopped your condition from getting worse, its time to make an appointment.
In making a diagnosis, we will examine your legs while you're standing and look for swelling. We will ask you to describe any pain or aching in your leg. Finally, it may be necessary to perform ultrasound tests to see if there's any evidence of a blood clot, determine the location and size of the leaking valve, and to exclude other vascular conditions as contributing to your symptoms.
Endovenous laser vein treatment ( EVLT):
In this outpatient procedure, Dr. Reddy performs minimally invasive procedure to treat varicose veins with a laser catheter by ablating the affected superficial veins. After these veins are closed, blood will be redirected to healthy veins. Performed with local anesthesia and typically takes about 45 minutes.
Since we make exclusive use of the most advanced and least invasive techniques available, treatment is most often administered in our office and the great majority of patients return to work and regular activities either the same day or with a 24-28 hour period.
There's no way to prevent varicose veins. But, improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce the risk of getting varicose veins or getting additional ones. To improve circulation and muscle tone, follow these tips:
Wearing graduated compression stockings is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. They sequentially massage your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently toward the heart. The amount of compression varies by type and brand.
Some people think of compression stockings as being uncomfortable and unstylish, but their bad fashion reputation is no longer deserved. Stockings today come in a variety of strengths, styles and colors. With the variety offered, you're likely to find a stocking that you're comfortable wearing.
Prescription-strength stockings are available. Prices vary, and stockings generally last from 4 to 6 months.
You may be tempted to try one of the many herbal supplements that claim to be able to prevent varicose veins or get rid of them. The active ingredient in most of the products is horse chestnut. Although physicians haven’t ruled out the possibility of this herb having an effect on veins, it's not likely the products will do much to eliminate the veins or relieve the pain they might cause. Additionally, there are concerns about the purity of supplements. It is also important to note that the manufacture of these products isn't closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Sometimes, extremely painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly nea r the ankles. Ulcers are the result of long-term "waterlogging" of these tissues as the result of increased pressure of blood within affected veins. Brownish pigmentation usually precedes the development of an ulcer. Ulcers require urgent medical attention.Portions of this text are courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.