Published: 11/24/2015 - Updated: 05/18/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Veins are naturally designed structures that provide not only blood flow, but they also propel blood flow and thereby collaborate with the heart. That’s why they have tiny valves that contract and expand, permanently creating perfect blood flow.
What are varicose veins…?
Varicose veins occur as a consequence of poor functioning within these valves. This causes the veins to become inflamed, they retain fluids from the blood and can even become deformed, causing different types of discomfort in those that suffer from them. Often times stagnant blood and vein swelling causes changes in color, which means that when varicose veins are advanced, they may turn blue or different shades of red. This not only affects health, but also an individual’s aesthetic appearance.
What causes varicose veins?
Although varicose veins can occur in both men and women, females are more prone to suffering from drastic hormonal changes, by using contraceptive methods or during pregnancy, which is what causes a large percentage of varicose veins. Additionally, there are lots of other things that may cause varicose veins which may directly affect the valves in these veins. Primarily, these include being overweight, being sedentary, using tight clothing, standing for longs periods of time...although the most common cause is hereditary factors and old age.
What symptoms do varicose veins present?
Often times these symptoms pass unnoticed because they are frequently confused with normal fatigue after a long day at work. People may even get used to living with the discomforts that warn that varicose veins are forming.
These symptoms can be classified into two groups. One group indicates veins that are being affected and that are currently forming in an early stage, and another is a more advanced stage which requires immediate and drastic attention. When the veins are forming, they can probably be controlled and even eliminated. This can be more complicated once they have reached a certain developmental stage, which is why they should be recognized in order to apply effective, corrective techniques.
The most common symptoms that warn of varicose veins are forming in the legs include:
- Pain in the legs, generally the calf muscles, anywhere from the ankles to the back of the knee.
- Burning or itching along the legs.
- Formation of spider veins along the legs.
When the veins are already developed:
- Pronounced or swollen veins
- Change in color in some regions of the vein.
- Intense pain either while standing, sitting, or even laying down.
- Dry, flaky skin that is easily torn.
- Wounds or ulcers that won’t heal.
- Swelling and change of color in the skin.
How to treat varicose veins
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Treatment depends directly on the state of development. Some methods are more effective than others. There are preventative treatments that are very effective, especially when applied when you know that you are at high risk because of hereditary factors. There are also treatments for when you already have varicose veins, and more radical solutions that are applied only when the veins are very advanced.
These treatments are largely effective because they prevent the veins from even forming. This is the best treatment for patients that are already considered to be high-risk because of direct family members with the veins, or whenever taking hormones, while pregnancy, if overweight, or if you live a sedentary life or spend long periods of time standing, or in the same position. This treatment includes…
- Healthy dietary and physical habits
- Avoiding wearing tight clothing, elastic clothes, or smaller sizes.
- Performing appropriate massages.
- Elevating your legs at the end of the day.
- Practicing hydrotherapy and thermotherapy.
Treatments for pronounced or already developed varicose veins
These veins are already apparent not only by their uncomfortable symptoms, fatigue and pain, but also because they become swollen and change color. For this stage, you should apply different strategies at the same time, like…
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- Radical changes in dietary and physical habits.
- Including foods that promote circulation.
- Using medicated treatment socks.
- Using natural treatments, like massage and thermal therapies.
- Using formulated creams.
Whenever the veins are already in an advanced stage, you must apply more advanced techniques and they must be supervised and performed by medical specialists. The most common treatments include…
- Laser treatment
As with every measure to preserve good functioning and health, taking preventive measures and tending to issues early on is always a determining factor in health and good functioning of any treatment. So our best recommendation is to not wait for your veins to pop out. If you have family history or if you have any of the risk factors, it’s best to take controlled measures so that you will not suffer from varicose veins.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/18/2018
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