Many people think that varicose veins are the natural result of getting older. They plan on avoid the problem or just wearing more clothing if forced to face it. However, there is a lot more going on than that. Varicose veins often affect the surface-level veins in the leg, which experience the most pressure when a person has to stand for a long period of time. They can appear in other parts of the body as well but are most common in the legs
Varicose veins have two main causes. There are valves in every vein that prevent blood from flowing back towards the heart. Because blood travels to the body through veins and to the heart through arteries, these valves ensure that blood will be carried to the cells that need it and that it doesn’t pool or flow slowly. Overtime, these valves can deteriorate so that the blood does not flow well, causing varicose veins. More simply, veins throughout the body can actually become larger or twisted, resulting in varicose veins.
There are many simple treatment options for people with varicose veins. Some can even be begun without an official diagnosis or prescription. Treatment options include
- Elastic pantyhose, especially knee highs
- Leg elevation
Alternately, patients can undergo one of several procedures. First and least invasive is a sclerotherapy. In this procedure, a medicine designed to shrink the veins is injected into the veins themselves. Physicians use ultrasounds in order to ensure that they inject the medicine into the right vein.
In more serious cases, a well-established practice called vein stripping may be used. In this procedure varicose veins are actually removed from the body. A day of in-hospital recovery is required for this procedure, which has been used less and less frequently lately. This can be done surgically or through radiofrequency ablation (RAF).
There are many other techniques. For example, the veins can be seal manually or contracted through endovenous laser treatment (ELT) and left them in the body.
Varicose veins may be a natural part of aging for some people, but no one has to live with them. There are many simple treatment options available.