Varicose veins are a fairly common medical problem associated with dilation of veins. When the valves in the veins lose the ability to close, the blood that should move toward the heart returns down towards the feet due to the effects of gravity. Blood accumulates in the veins making them undesirably swollen, darker in colour (most often purple) and sometimes painful.
Women suffer from varicose veins almost twice as much as men. It is more common the elderly as vein valves are more likely to fail with age. Up to 80% of 60 year olds have at least one varicose vein, but most cases do not cause symptoms.
If they do cause symptoms, then ones such as pain and burning in the legs, tingling sensation, swelling and cramps in the lower limbs are the most common.
Untreated symptomatic varicose veins can lead to more serious conditions such as leg ulcers, thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein), or even deep vein thrombosis (clots in the veins which can potentially travel to the lungs).
- Long periods of time standing or sitting, in the performance of their daily activities of life;
- Lack of exercise
Varicose veins tend to develop slowly, over a period of 10-20 years, so there is an opportunity to prevent then worsening.
- Daily use of compression stockings, in order to facilitate venous return, but this should be assessed by a clinician first;
- Sclerotherapy, often indicated by the doctor in order to redirect blood circulation, thus eliminating varicose veins;
- Surgery, indicated for more severe conditions.
Early preventative actions can slow and prevent complications of varicose veins, so do seek advice early.
At the Oval Medical Centre you can count on the support of a medical team able to enlighten you and help you! “