Varicose veins affect approximately 23% of the adult population in the United States. To most people, it is considered a harmless problem and the majority of those who have it only dislike how it makes their legs look. While it affects 1 in every four adults, only a few will seek treatment. Varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. They can lead to more serious problems that might require treatment.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a condition that affects the veins, causing them to bulge, swell and appear twisted. It occurs when faulty valves in the veins allow blood to backflow. As a result, the blood usually pools in the area just beneath the inefficient valve, causing the vein to enlarge and stretch and appear contorted. Varicose veins also look like bluish or red lines on the skin and are commonly found on the thighs or at the back and front of the calves.
They are common among pregnant women and seniors. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Bulging and twisting of the affected veins ( this is the most common symptom)
- Leg cramps when one is at rest
- Aching or swelling in the legs especially after a long time of being stationary or standing
- Itchiness around the affected area
- Leg heaviness especially after exercising
- Abnormal bleeding after a slight injury on the affected area
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
This is one of the most popular treatments for varicose veins. The doctor often injects a unique solution into the affected vein(s) which then irritates its lining causing it to harden and close itself. As a result, any blood that would previously pool inside the affected vein is forced to flow through other healthier veins. The treated veins, on the other hand, start to fade and within time disappear completely. This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia.
Ablation treatment for veins
This is yet another common varicose veins treatment. During this process, the doctor makes a tiny skin puncture on the affected area and then inserts a thin catheter into the affected vein. The doctor then uses a laser or radiofrequency beams to hit the tip of the catheter and begins pulling it out. The heat then destroys the affected vein causing it to collapse, and blood flows through the healthier surrounding veins. Ablation treatment for veins is the most common treatment for larger varicose veins.
If your varicose veins are large than usual, then you may need surgery. During the surgery, the doctor may either tie off the varicose vein at its junction preventing blood from flowing into it, or he/she may strip, which means the affected vein is completely removed.
Why seek treatment
To prevent the discomfort
Varicose veins cause you both emotional and physical discomfort. First, you hate the way your legs look which means you are no longer comfortable in your skin like you were previously. Secondly, you have to deal with the swelling, itchiness and the aching that is caused by the problem.
Can cause excessive bleeding
When blood pools above the faulty valve, the skin over the affected vein tends to thin out due to the underlying pressure and swelling, this means that even a minor injury causes a lot of blood loss.
Varicose veins often cause swelling. When this occurs, your skin tends to thin out, thus becoming susceptible to injuries. When you are injured, the affected area takes ages to heal as the swollen tissues prevent the required nutrients from flowing to the injured area, thereby slowing down the healing process and as such results in multiple skin ulcers.
Limits physical activity
If none of the above reasons motivate you to seek ablation treatment for veins, then this is why you should consider visiting your doc as soon as possible. Besides skin ulcers and excessive bleeding, if nothing is done, varicose veins have the potential to limit your physical activity.
They might indicate more trouble
Apart from discomfort, it is vital to note that at times varicose veins might signify a more serious, underlying condition. Those with varicose veins are more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. Seeking treatment as soon as possible might help prevent the underlying condition from becoming life-threatening.