Varicose veins are enlarged leg veins that can be blue, purple or greenish in color. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted bulging ropes. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins that carry blood from the legs back toward the heart no longer function, causing leg swelling by blood pooling in the legs. They are more common in women than men and often run in families. They can also be caused by pregnancy, being severely overweight, or by standing for long periods of time due to your job.
The symptoms of varicose veins include:
• Bulging, swollen, purple, distended, veins seen under the skin
• Spider veins -- small red or purple bursts on your knees, calves, or thighs, caused by swollen capillaries (small blood vessels)
• Aching, stinging, or swelling of the ankles and legs at the end of the day
What you should know about Varicose Veins
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged bulging veins that are usually present along the lower legs and ankles near the surface of the skin.
Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves in the legs, which causes blood to pool in the legs instead of being pumped back to the heart. This causes and increase in pressure in the veins leading them to become twisted and enlarged.
What causes varicose veins?
When the valves in the veins are not working normally, blood that should flow in one direction towards the heart, pools in the legs causing an increase in pressure in these veins. This can lead to the development of twisted, engorged veins.
Who is at risk of developing varicose veins?
Anyone can develop varicose veins. However, you have a higher chance of developing them if you are obese, pregnant or have a history of prolonged standing.
What are the symptoms?
Varicose veins appear lumpy, swollen or twisted, they may be blue or dark purple.
Other symptoms include:
Discomfort (burning or dull ache)
Muscle cramps in the affected leg especially at night.
Swelling in the feet/ankles.
Itching around one or more of the veins
How can I prevent the development of varicose veins?
Compression stockings can be worn to improve the blood flow. Elevating your legs and avoiding prolonged standing can also help as well as regular exercise.
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
Doctors will performed a thorough history taking and clinical examination. A lower limb ultrasound will be performed to assess and confirm the diagnosis of varicose veins.
What are the treatments available?
Compression stockings: This will help to improve blood circulation and reduce leg swelling.
Medication: To improve symptoms such as pain and swelling.
Endovenous ablation: This refers to the closing off the vein using heat generated from radio-frequency ablation (RFA), LASER therapy or chemical ablation.
Ligation or stripping: Done by removing the vein through a tiny incision in the skin.
Venaseal: Sealing off the affected superficial vein with an adhesive agent.
Sclerotherapy: Injection of the spider veins.
How long is the recovery?
Patients who have undergone varicose vein surgery, usually go home the same day. Most patients are able to walk right away after their operation. This is encouraged to promote good blood circulation.
How can we help?
Our doctors are professionally trained and experienced in managing varicose veins. We will work with you to produce a treatment plan that suit your needs.
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