What Are Varicose Veins
Varicose veins appear as dark streaks or swollen, running lumps on the legs and feet, they are also known as ‘spider veins’. Veins are the part of the venous system. There are two kinds of veins in the lower extremities, deep veins and superficial veins. Superficial veins run under the skin’s subcutaneous layer and drain blood into the deep veins. Deep veins carry blood from the lower extremities toward the heart and lungs to be reoxygenated. This process relies on leg muscle contraction and a complex arrangement of one-way valves known as venous valves. If the venous valves fail, blood that normally flows upward, leaks back and pools inside the veins. Varicose veins are these swollen and twisted superficial veins filled with pooled blood.
Before and After Treatment from Dr. Randall
What Causes Varicose Veins
To push blood upward from the feet, veins rely on muscles and a complex network of one-way valves to keep blood flowing towards the heart and lungs and not backward. If the muscles and venous valves become weak or fail, the vein becomes incompetent and blood begins to collect in the vein rather than returning to the heart. The valves can become weakened for a number of reasons but regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle has been shown to reduce instances of venous insufficiency. Anyone may develop spider veins, especially women who have experienced pregnancy; however, women and men of any age may be affected.
Contributing factors include:
- Older age
- Family history, heredity
- Being female or transitioning to one due to the hormone progesterone
- Taking oral contraceptive pills or hormone replacement
- Multiple pregnancies
- Smoking tobacco
- Obesity or being overweight
- Inactive lifestyle
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Leg injuries
- Inflammation of the veins (or phlebitis)
What Are Some Symptoms
- Visible “spider veins” a bluish or purple coloration
- Pain or aching in the legs
- Restless leg syndrome
- Swelling of the legs, ankles or feet
- Cramping in the lower extremities
- Itching or burning
- Fatigue or heaviness in the legs
- Prolonged bleeding from a minor injury
- Dermatitis on the legs or feet (red, dry, itchy skin)
How are Varicose Veins Diagnosed
Varicose veins are visually recognizable to a medical professional. In cases where symptoms are present even if the bulging veins are not visible, an ultrasound may also be used. Ultrasounds are also used to determine the severity of the disorder.
How Varicose Veins are Treated
Varicose veins can be treated safely to deal with both symptomatic and cosmetic issues. Procedures are performed that close down the weak veins thereby forcing blood to go into the appropriate deep veins. This restores blood flow and resolves these symptoms. Treatment for varicose veins in Oklahoma City may include medical procedure or lifestyle changes. Medical treatments include compression stockings, injections (sclerotherapy), laser therapy, radiofrequency ablation, ambulatory phlebectomy, surgery or vein stripping.