Are varicose veins treatable?

         Varicose veins are the enlarged twisted veinsin the skin, most commonly in the legs that can bulge on walking and standing. People come to Vascular Surgeon in Islamabad with cosmetic complains due to varicose veins, and sometimes due to discomfort caused by these bulging vessels. Read on to know more about varicose veins and their treatment options:

What are varicose veins?

 Varicosed veins form due to excessive pressure on the superficial veins due to persistent standing and walking. These veins are dark in color and often appear twisted and cord-like. Patients with varicose veins complain of:

·         Aching in the legs

·         Heavy feeling in the legs

·         Pain on sitting or standing for long

·         Itching on the skin of legs

·         Change in color of the extremities

Who is at risk of developing varicose veins?

The risk of varicose veins is higher in:

·         Older individuals as aging damages the venous valves that keep the blood flowing.

·         Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins.

·         The incidence is higher in pregnancy

·         Obesity increases the chances of varicose veins

What are the treatment options?

The treatment for varicose veins ranges from lifestyle changes andhome remedies to surgeries:

Conservative home remedies

Home remedies for varicose veins include:

·         Exercise: walking and exercising is a great way to prevent stasis of blood in the legs that can worsen varicose veins. Thus, the first step in the management of varicosities is exercising and regular movement. Your healthcare provider can guide you more about the right level of exercise and activity level for your disease.

·         Right footwear: high-heeled shoes can prevent the peripheral pump—or gastrocnemius muscle—from working and moving theblood back to the heart.

·         Weight management: obese individuals have more pressure on the venous return, while shedding extra weight can reduce this pressure from the veins.

·         Lifting legs: raising and lifting the legs throughout the day, while taking short breaks can increase the blood flow and prevent stasis of blood in the varicosities. It is also helpful to raise the legs by placing three to four pillows under the legs while sleeping.

·         Avoiding tight clothing: blood flow can also be reduced by wearing tight clothing around the legs and groin. Individuals suffering from varicose veins can therefore benefit from wearing loose clothing.

·         Being stationary: changing position regularly throughout the day can also improve blood flow. People with varicose veins should avoid long periods of standing or sitting still.

Medical and surgical treatment

The medical treatment of varicose veins begins with:

·         Compression stockings: wearing compression stockings puts pressure on the veins and squeezes the leg muscles to improve blood flow. These stockings are often the first approach for people diagnosed with varicose veins. These stocking are available over-the-counter in most medical supply stores, while prescription strength stockings are also available for more pressure.

·         Lifestyle changes: such as those mentioned before are helpful.

·         Surgeries and procedures:for more severe disease there are other procedures, including:

o   Sclerotherapy: in this type of treatment, varicose veins are injected with a solution to close the veins. In the weeks following the injection, the treated veins fade. This is an office-procedure and can be done multiple times.

o   Venous stripping: the superficial veins causing varicosities in the legs are tied off and removed in venous strippingthrough small cuts.This is an out-patient procedure that forces the blood from superficial to deeper veins in the legs.

o   Catheter ablation: a catheter is inserted into an enlarged vein and high energy radiofrequency is used to destroy the vein and seal it.

o   Laser treatment: strong bursts of light are used to send laser treatment onto the vein to destroy it.

o   Phlebectomy: for more severe form of varicose veins, the smaller varicosities can be removed by the healthcare provider through skin punctures. The parts being removed are first numbed with injection. The scarring following this procedure are minimal.

How can varicose veins be prevented?

Strategies from Vascular Surgeon in Lahorethat can prevent the formation of varicose veins include controlling weight, eating high-fiber diet, raising the legs when resting, exercising and avoiding the use of tight clothing and high heels.