Varicose veins are a condition wherein the veins in the body become convoluted and engorged. Veins are tubular structures forming a part of the circulatory system in the body, along with the heart and the other cylindrical assemblies, namely the arteries and capillaries.
Veins run through all the organs in the body, from head to toe. However, the most commonly affected veins in the case of this ailment are those in the legs. This is due to the fact that staying in a upright, erect position for several hours through the day, while standing or walking, adds a lot of pressure to the veins in the lower extremities of the body. Also Read: Standing Too Long? You Can Develop Varicose Veins
The main cause of varicose veins is damaged or weak valves in the circulatory system. While arteries transport blood from the heart to the bodily tissues, veins are responsible for carrying blood from the organs back to the heart. In doing so, they must function against the gravitational force. Small valves within veins open up to receive the blood from the organs and then automatically close up. In case this malfunctions, then the direction of veins and hence, blood flow is reversed, leading to many severe consequences such as coagulation and profuse bleeding, like in hemophilia. Also Read: World Haemophilia Day: Why Does This Disorder Occur?
In minor instances, varicose veins and another related disorder termed as spider veins are only a cosmetic concern, bearing the prominent appearance of dark blue to purplish veins. Nevertheless, in more serious situations of this ailment, complications such as ulcers and blood clots may arise. Hence, prompt medical treatment is strongly advised for people who notice the signs of varicose veins in one or both of their legs.
The typical symptoms of varicose veins include:
- A very dark blue to purple discolouration of the veins
- Inflamed and distorted form of veins
- Leg pain as in the case of calf muscle cramps
- Throbbing and heaviness in legs
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme discomfort after staying put in one position for prolonged periods of time, such as sitting or standing
- Noticeable swelling in legs
Diagnosis And Treatment:
The doctor will initially perform an external physical exam on the patient, to look for signs of swelling and disocolouration in the veins in the legs. In addition, the healthcare provider will also conduct an ultrasound scan of the legs, to examine if there is any blood clot or leakage in the veins.
Once the diagnosis of varicose veins is confirmed, the medical professional will suggest some lifestyle modifications such as wearing loose and comfortable clothing, exercising regularly, following a high-fiber, low-salt diet and avoiding long term sitting or standing, to ease the pain experienced by the affected individual.
Moreover, compression stockings are advised to be worn every day, as they apply force on the lower leg muscles, facilitating the smooth flow of blood through the veins in that region.
In case the condition of varicose veins in the patient is quite severe, then invasive procedures like sclerotherapy, laser treatment and endoscopic vein surgery are performed, to entirely close off the varicose or disfigured veins and regulate the flow of blood through healthy veins in the proper direction.