Varicose Veins (or Spider Veins as they are sometimes referred to) are gnarled, enlarged veins. The word varicose comes from the Latin root varix, which means “twisted.” The most commonly affected veins are in the legs and feet. The force of gravity, the pressure of body weight, and the task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart make legs the primary location for varicose and spider veins.
The majority of people with varicose veins are mainly concerned about their appearance. Some are concerned about varicose veins because of aching pain and discomfort that they can cause. Sometimes this condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins may also be a sign of higher risk of other disorders of the circulatory system.Varicose veins is a common condition in the United States, affecting about 50 to 55% of American women and 40 to 45% of American men.
Cause of Varicose Veins: the heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts. Veins carry oxygen-poor blood from the body back to the heart. The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. This is called venous insufficiency. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose. Spider veins can also be caused by the backup of blood.
Factors which can increase the person’s likelihood of developing varicose or spider veins include: Increasing Age Having family members with vein problems or being born with weak vein valves Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, and taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone. During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing and other things that weaken vein valves. Sun exposure, which can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of fair-skinned people.
Varicose Vein symptoms include: aching pain; easily tired legs; leg heaviness; swelling in the legs; darkening of the skin (in severe cases); numbness in the legs; and itching or irritated rash in the legs.
Spider veins do not usually require medical treatment. However, varicose veins usually enlarge and worsen over time. Severe varicose veins can cause other health problems including: Severe pooling of blood in the veins which slows the return of blood to the heart – this can cause blood clots and severe infections. Sores or skin ulcers can occur on skin tissue around varicose veins. Ongoing irritation, swelling and painful rashes of the legs.
Prevention of varicose veins and spider veins can include: Wearing sunscreen to protect skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face. Exercise regularly to improve leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Weight to avoid placing too much pressure on the legs. Not crossing legs when sitting. Elevating legs when resting. Not standing or sitting for long periods of time. Wearing elastic support stockings and avoiding tight clothing that constricts the waist, groin, or legs. Eating a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation which can contribute to varicose veins.
Varicose Veins Treatment – may include self-help measures, or procedures by a doctor to close or remove veins. Treatments include: Sclerotherapy – This is a non-surgical procedure in which a solution is injected into the problem varicose veins or spider veins in order to cause its disappearance. Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) -works by heating the inside of the vein, which causes it to seal shut and disappear. This treatment requires that a very thin laser fiber be inserted into the damaged underlying vein. Radiofrequency Occlusion – this method treats the vein by heating them, causing the vein to contract and then close. Ambulatory Phlebectomy – this involves making tiny punctures or incisions through which the varicose veins are removed. The incisions are so small no stitches are required. Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy (TIPP) – this treatment is a minimally invasive procedure for removing varicose veins that is performed using the TriVex® System. Transillumination is a unique feature – much like a flashlight placed under the skin – that allows a surgeon to see, accurately target and remove varicose veins, then visually confirm the extraction. Vein Ligation – vein surgery where incisions are made over the problem vein and the vein is tied off. This is done in order to cut off the flow of blood to the varicose vein, which in turn causes it to become less visible. Vein Stripping – involves tying off of the upper end of a problem vein. Laser surgery – sends very strong bursts of light onto the vein. This can makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. This treatment is popular as it does not use needles or incisions. Laser treatments last for 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the severity of the veins, two to five treatments are generally needed to remove spider veins in the legs. Patients can return to normal activity right after treatment. For spider veins larger than 3 mm, laser therapy is not very practical. Possible side effects of laser surgery include: redness or swelling of the skin after the treatment; discolored skin that will disappear within one to two months; occasionally burns and scars result from poorly performed laser surgery.
Varicose Vein Creams: some creams can reduce the appearance of varicose and spider veins. These include: Lavender Oil; vitamins K, E, liposomes and aloe.
About the Author
Gay Redmile is the webmaster of numerous health and well being sites. For all the latest information, news and articles regarding varicose veins – visit her site at: http://www.getridofvaricoseveins.com or for a wealth of information on other well being issues visit: http://www.wellbeinginfosite.com