Are varicose veins a problem for you?
Do you suffer from varicose veins? They are the unsightly rope like structures that can bulge in your lower legs. These are generally caused by weak or damaged valves within our legs. A person’s heart pumps oxygen rich blood and nutrients to every place within the body through arteries. The veins carry the blood back to the heart. To keep the blood within the vein moving back towards the heart, the veins contain valves that act as a one-way flap. These valves keep blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs against gravity. If these valves weaken or become damaged, the blood can leak back down the legs and collect in dilated veins called varicosities.
The varicose veins can be the source of multiple complaints besides just the bulging unsightly veins noted in your lower leg. These symptoms include pain, leg heaviness, burning, itching, swelling, and skin changes or skin ulcerations. If you suffer from any of these symptoms your varicose veins should be treated.
Gone are the days of the old vein stripping surgeries. New, minimally invasive techniques performed in a physician’s office are the treatments offered today to patients with varicose veins. The techniques may include a catheter threaded into the vein, and heated with radiofrequency waves to destroy the lining of the vein. This procedure welds the vein closed, thus stopping blood from flowing through the vein. Sclerotherapy is a technique which injects a medication into the varicose veins. The medication destroys the lining of the vein and causes the vein to scar down, resulting in stoppage of blood flow. Lastly, surgical removal of a large ropey varicose vein may be required by the technique of ambulatory phlebectomy. All these techniques change the blood flow within the leg veins so that it is routed into normal functioning veins.
If you or a loved one has problems with varicose veins then a discussion with your primary care physician is in order. A referral to a vein treatment center could put the spring back in your step.