Veins are blood vessels that return deoxygenated blood from the outer parts of the body back to the heart and lungs. When veins become abnormally thick, full of twists and turns, or enlarged, they are called varicose veins. Generally, the veins in the legs and thighs have a tendency to become varicosed. This is called varicose veins.
Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people over age 50. They are more common in women than men.
The causes of varicose veins are not entirely understood. In some instances, the absence or weakness of valves in the veins may cause the poor blood flow in the veins and lead to varicose veins. Valves inside veins normally act to ensure that blood in the veins does not go the wrong direction (or backwards) away from the large (deep) veins and the heart. They are mainly located in the perforating and some deep veins.
In other cases, weaknesses in the vein walls may cause the pooling of the blood. The walls of the blood vessels can become weaker and less competent than normal, causing the volume of blood in the veins to increase, and leading to varicose veins.
Less commonly, varicose veins are caused by such conditions as:
Phlebitis (inflammation of the veins),
Blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins, or
Congenital abnormalities of the veins.
Hormonal changes during menopause.
Venous disease (disease of the veins) is generally progressive and may not be prevented.
Aching, heavy legs (often worse at night and after exercise).
Appearance of spider veins (telangiectasia) in the affected leg.
A brownish-blue shiny skin discoloration near the affected veins.
Redness, dryness, and itchiness of areas of skin - termed stasis dermatitis or venous eczema, because of waste products building up in the leg.
Cramps may develop especially when making a sudden move as standing up.
Minor injuries to the area may bleed more than normal and/or take a long time to heal.
In some people the skin above the ankle may shrink (lipodermatosclerosis) because the fat underneath the skin becomes hard.
Restless legs syndrome appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency.
Whitened, irregular scar-like patches can appear at the ankles. This is known as atrophie blanche.
Making the diagnosis of varicose veins is a relatively easy task. They are easy to identify just by their characteristic appearance on physical examination. This will include asking about family history of varicose veins, duration, presence of any symptoms, and any worsening or expansion of the varicose veins. The individual's height, weight, and other medical conditions need to be noted as well.
Doppler ultrasound- to evaluate extent of it.
Duplex scanning- to rule out blood clots in deep veins.
Magnetic resonance venography
There are many different treatments available for varicose veins. These treatments are offered based upon the size of the varicose veins, the presence of any symptoms, and the location of the veins. Briefly, treatments include:
leg elevation while sitting or sleeping,
sclerotherapy (injection of a liquid into the vein),
laser therapy, and
surgery (removal of the varicose veins, or vein stripping).
In general, sclerotherapy and laser therapy are helpful in treating spider veins (telangiectasias), while sclerotherapy and surgery may be a better options for larger varicose veins. Varicose and spider veins may be primarily a cosmetic problem. But severe cases of varicose veins, especially those involving ulcers, typically require treatment.
Most varicose veins are relatively benign, but severe varicosities can lead to major complications, due to the poor circulation through the affected limb.
Pain, heaviness, inability to walk or stand for long hours thus hindering work
Skin conditions / Dermatitis which could predispose skin loss
Skin ulcers especially near the ankle, usually referred to as venous ulcers.
Development of carcinoma or sarcoma in longstanding venous ulcers. There have been over 100 reported cases of malignant transformation and the rate is reported as 0.4% to 1%.
Severe bleeding from minor trauma, of particular concern in the elderly.
Blood clotting within affected veins. Termed superficial thrombophlebitis. These are frequently isolated to the superficial veins, but can extend into deep veins becoming a more serious problem.
Acute fat necrosis can occur, especially at the ankle of overweight patients with varicose veins. Females are more frequently affected than males.
Homeopathic remedies often help to relieve discomfort that comes with varicose veins and may help to prevent their worsening. They may also cure it in many cases. Homeopathy also helps significantly in cases of varicose ulcers. Homeopathic treatment is strongly recommended for all cases of varicose veins except for those which are truly surgical in nature.
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