Dr. Sravan

Varicose Veins & Venous Disorder

Understanding Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a manifestation of chronic venous insufficiency, where veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. This condition is primarily due to valve failures that prevent blood from flowing efficiently back to the heart, causing blood to pool in the veins. The venous system comprises superficial veins (close to the surface of the skin) and deep veins (located deep in the muscle tissue), both of which can be affected by this disorder.

Why Do Varicose Veins Happen?

Think of the veins in your legs as a series of pipes carrying blood back to your heart. These pipes have one-way valves that keep the blood moving in the right direction. Sometimes, those valves can stop working , or the walls of the veins can get weak. When this happens, blood doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should. Instead of moving upwards, some of it can start to pool in the veins of your legs.

This pooling increases the pressure inside the veins. Over time, this extra pressure can cause the veins to stretch, get bigger, and twist— kind of like how a garden hose might kink or bulge if it’s not handled properly. That’s what we see on the surface of the skin as varicose veins. They’re essentially veins that have become too full and stretched out because the normal flow of blood has been disrupted.

Varicose veins can show up in just about anyone, but certain things make them more likely to appear.

Here’s what can increase your chances:

  • Getting Older: As we age, our veins can lose elasticity and don’t work as well.
  • Family History: If your mom, dad, or grandparents had varicose veins, you might be more likely to get them too.
  • Changes During Pregnancy: Being pregnant can put extra pressure on your veins and change your hormone levels, which might lead to varicose veins.
  • Being Overweight: Extra weight can put more pressure on your veins.
  • Not Moving Enough: Sitting or standing for a long time without moving can make it harder for your blood to travel up your legs.
  • Too Much Sun: Spending a lot of time in the sun can weaken your skin and possibly the veins just under your skin.
  • Past Vein Problems: If you’ve had issues like clots in your veins before, it might increase your risk.
  • Narrow Veins in Your Pelvis: Sometimes, veins in the pelvis area are narrower than they should be, which can affect blood flow.

Symptoms and Concerns

While the visual appearance of varicose veins is a common concern, the condition can also lead to a range of symptoms affecting patients’ quality of life. These include:

  • Leg heaviness and fatigue, especially after prolonged standing or towards the end of the day.
  • Pain and discomfort ranging from a dull ache to severe cramping.
  • Edema, or swelling, often worsening with prolonged standing or in hot weather.
  • Skin changes, such as eczema, pigmentation, and lipodermatosclerosis (hardening of the skin).
  • Venous leg ulcers, which represent the most severe form of chronic venous insufficiency, are challenging to treat and are prone to recurrence.

Varicose Veins Treatment: What You Need to Know

  • If you’re looking to treat varicose or spider veins, whether for health or cosmetic reasons, there’s a range of options available to you. Here’s a breakdown of what’s out there, from simple lifestyle adjustments to advanced medical procedures.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Care

  • Weight Management: Keeping a healthy weight reduces pressure on your veins.
  • Elevate Your Legs: Helps with blood flow back to your heart.
  • Compression Stockings: These special socks gently squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently.
  • Conservative Treatments for Mild Varicose Veins
  • Stockings and Medications: Besides compression stockings, certain medications can help manage symptoms without needing surgery.

Advanced Treatments for Severe Cases

When varicose veins are more advanced, causing skin changes or ulcers, consider these options:

Sclerotherapy: This involves injecting a special solution into the veins, causing them to scar and blood to reroute through healthier veins. It might take a few sessions to get the full effect.

Great for both cosmetic improvement and symptom relief. It requires multiple sessions for optimal results and can be used for recurrent varicose veins.

Surgical Treatments

  • Vein Stripping and Ligation: Under general anesthesia, problematic veins are tied off and removed.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Small incisions are made to remove smaller veins. This is less invasive and can be done under local anaesthesia.
  • A less invasive option with minimal discomfort. The procedure uses laser energy to effectively close off the affected vein, promoting healthier blood flow.

Ablation Therapy

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA): A minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to close off varicose veins.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: Similar to EVLA but uses radiofrequency energy.
  • Glue Ablation (Venaseal™): A cutting-edge, non-heat based treatment that uses a medical adhesive to close the veins. It’s quick, with minimal downtime and low risk of complications.
  • Offers a fast recovery with very low risks, using a unique adhesive to seal the vein.

Surgical Options

Best for larger or more problematic veins, these procedures are more invasive but very effective for long-term relief.No matter which treatment path you choose, it’s important to consult with a specialist who can tailor a plan to your specific needs and health conditions. Modern treatments for varicose veins are highly effective, with options available for every case, from the most mild to the most advanced.

Spider Veins

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small, fine blood vessels that are visible just under the skin’s surface. They can look like tiny tree branches or spiderwebs and usually show up on the face or legs in shades of red or blue. While they’re mainly a cosmetic issue for many people, they can sometimes cause discomfort, including feelings of aching, burning, swelling, or cramping in the affected areas.

Why Do They Appear

Spider veins occur when tiny valves inside your veins stop working properly. These valves are supposed to stop blood from flowing backward, but when they fail, blood can pool in the veins. This makes the veins expand and become visible on the skin.

Factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Being over the age of 50, with 30-50% of adults experiencing spider veins.
  • Hormonal changes, including those during pregnancy.
  • Being overweight.
  • Having a job or lifestyle that involves long periods of sitting or standing.

How Can We Treat Spider Veins?

Treatment for spider veins is often sought for cosmetic reasons, but there are also simple methods to alleviate discomfort:

  • Compression Stockings: These special stockings apply gentle pressure to your legs, helping blood flow more smoothly.
  • Sclerotherapy: A minimally invasive procedure where a solution is injected into the veins, making them shrink and eventually disappear.
  • Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA): This technique uses a laser to close off larger veins, with fewer side effects and a quicker recovery than traditional surgery.

Preventing Spider Veins

While it’s not always possible to prevent spider veins entirely, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk:

  • Stay Active: Regular exercise helps keep your blood flowing and reduces pressure on your veins.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight can put more pressure on your veins.

  • Elevate Your Legs: Lifting your legs when resting can improve circulation.

  • Wear Comfortable Footwear and Support Hoses: This can help with blood flow, especially if you’re prone to standing or sitting for long periods.

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