The De­vel­op­men­tal Causes and Preven­tion of Vari­cose Veins

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - News -

Vari­cose veins are en­larged veins that of­ten have a gnarled or twisted ap­pear­ance. They typ­i­cally oc­cur on the backs of the calves, the in­side of the leg and the feet due to the pres­sure ex­erted on th­ese ar­eas when stand­ing and walk­ing. Vari­cose veins can lead to com­pli­ca­tions, such as ul­cers and blood clots, and may be a sign of cir­cu­la­tory prob­lems. The ap­pear­ance of vari­cose veins makes them easy to di­ag­nose. Symp­toms may in­clude burn­ing, throb­bing, swelling or aching. Pain usu­ally wors­ens af­ter sit­ting or stand­ing for long pe­ri­ods of time. Vari­cose veins de­velop when the valves in the veins func­tion in­ef­fi­ciently caus­ing blood to stay in the vein longer than it should or even flow back­wards.

There are sev­eral risk fac­tors that in­crease the chances of de­vel­op­ing vari­cose veins.

1) Age: As a per­son ages, the valves in the veins are more

likely to ex­pe­ri­ence trou­ble work­ing cor­rectly.

2) Sex: Fe­male hor­mones tend to re­lax vein walls. Also, tak­ing hor­mone re­place­ments or birth con­trol pills in­crease the risk. 3) Preg­nancy: Dur­ing preg­nancy, the vol­ume of blood in the body in­creases in or­der to sup­port a grow­ing fe­tus yet the flow of blood from the legs to the pelvis is de­creased.

4) Fam­ily His­tory: Those with fam­ily mem­bers who had vari­cose veins have a greater risk of de­vel­op­ing them.

5) Weight: Be­ing over­weight can in­crease the pres­sure on your veins.

6) Sit­ting/Stand­ing for Long Pe­ri­ods: Be­ing idle or sta­tion­ary will re­duce blood flow through veins.

Many of the fac­tors - fam­ily his­tory, age, sex, etc. - can­not be avoided. How­ever, there are cer­tain things you can re­duce your risk by main­tain­ing a healthy weight, ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, el­e­vate your legs af­ter ex­tended pe­ri­ods of sit­ting or stand­ing.

There are a num­ber of treat­ments that are com­monly con­sid­ered. One of the first treat­ments is med­i­cally pre­scribed com­pres­sion stock­ings. Th­ese tight stock­ings help blood move more ef­fi­ciently through the veins. Some insurance com­pa­nies re­quire a 3 month stock­ing treat­ment be­fore con­sid­er­ing sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion. If sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary there are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent treat­ments to ad­dress vari­cose veins. A vas­cu­lar spe­cial­ist can eval­u­ate this need and make ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­men­da­tions. Next month we will de­scribe and com­pare the dif­fer­ent sur­gi­cal meth­ods.

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