Vein conditions that are seemingly cosmetic are often caused by an underlying vein disease that could lead to more serious vein conditions if left untreated. Varicose veins may initially present themselves as moderate leg pain and can progress into skin discoloration, mobility issues, a heightened risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), lymphedema or venous ulcers. Vein disease is very common. And very treatable.
Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging veins usually found in the leg. They often appear twisted and cord-like, and tend to be blue to dark purple in color.
Spider veins are smaller, thread-like, or tree-like in appearance, and are usually seen just under the surface of the skin in the legs and face. Similar to varicose veins, spider veins on the face, hands and limbs can be accompanied by pain.
Who Gets Varicose Veins?
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
Age. The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
Sex. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause may be a factor because female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Hormone treatments, such as birth control pills, may increase your risk of varicose veins.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases. This change supports the growing fetus, but also can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also play a role.
Family history. If other family members had varicose veins, there's a greater chance you will too.
Obesity. Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
Standing or sitting for long periods of time. Your blood doesn't flow as well if you're in the same position for long periods.
Weak or damaged valves can lead to varicose veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues, and veins return blood from the rest of 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.
Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein, causing the veins to stretch or twist.
Here are treatments for varicose veins:
This is a rather painless saline-injection medical procedure that collapses the veins so as to allow the body to reabsorb it back into your bloodstream. Most health experts recommend this treatment for those that suffer from the medium to small varicose vein ailments. There are different types of sclerotherapy treatment when this type of venous condition is concerned. These include
– Laser-assisted Sclerotherapy (most advanced and least invasive)
– Foam Sclerotherapy (for the much bigger and harder-to-treat veins)
– Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy (for the deep, large veins that may have required surgery once before)
Also commonly referred to as vein “stripping.” In this surgical procedure, the doctor makes tiny cuts around the damaged veins and then proceeds to remove that whole vein. Sometimes, doctors opt to perform phlebectomy alongside several other medical procedures, for example, ablation. The main advantage this particular procedure has is that it happens to be a permanent treatment. This is because the damaged veins are removed completely. Nevertheless, like most surgical procedures it does come with its risks as well as the fact that it will require some considerable recovery time.
3. Thermal Ablation
Also known as Radiofrequency Ablation, this treatment has been in existence for almost over ten years now. It involves using radiofrequency or laser energy to heat the vein’s insides. This destroys the walls of the veins causing the vein itself to shrink which then allows the body to absorb it naturally over time. It’s one of the best treatments when it comes to varicose veins. However, it tends to cause a bit of discomfort for a few weeks or so as well as cause a little bruising. Veins usually disappear after around one or two weeks after treatment.
4. Non-Thermal Ablation
In this ablation treatment, instead of using heat to permanently destroy the damaged veins a potent medical drug is used. It’s also as effective as its previously mentioned counterpart and works very well against this venous complication. The good thing about it is that it also destroys the affected veins for good.
If medical treatment is something you might be considering, then try as much as you can to find the best possible physician to treat you. All types of doctors are performing these treatments these days. It’s advised you do your due diligence before picking one. Your best bet would be a phlebologist. They happen to be the most qualified for handling such medical scenarios. They’re vein specialists and are the best suited for these cases.
MIMIT Health keeps patients healthy with our minimally invasive approach to treating varicose veins and spider veins. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600 today and talk with one of our patient care specialists.