If you’re relatively young, you may think that you cannot possibly get varicose veins. The common misconception is that varicose veins occur only in the elderly. However, the truth is, that you can get varicose veins at any age. About 30% of adults suffer from varicose veins, and these are not just the elderly. If you’re a woman in your 20s with certain risk factors, you can get varicose veins too!
Varicose veins occur because the valves inside your veins become dysfunctional and do not open and close in the normal manner. Veins carry blood back to the heart and these dysfunctional valves cause blood that should flow to the heart to flow backwards.
This results in blood pooling in the veins, particularly in the lower extremities. This backflow and pooling of blood causes varicose veins. Varicose veins stretch the walls of the veins. With the latter being already weak, these veins appear twisted and blue just underneath the surface of the skin.
There are certain people who are more at risk for developing varicose veins. There are also several causes for varicose veins. That’s what we’ll talk about in this article…
- Men and women over the age of 40: About 22 million women between the ages of 40 and 80 years have varicose veins. While female hormones are thought to play a role in this, men between the ages of 40 and 80 are also at risk, with almost 11 million of them developing varicose veins.
- Women who are on hormone medication: Women who take birth control pills or who take hormone replacement therapy, which is prescribed to combat the symptoms of menopause, are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins.
- People with a strong family history: If other members of your family have varicose veins, you may have a strong predilection towards them as well. This is because leaky vein valves are thought to be inherited.
- People who are overweight and obese: An increase in weight puts additional strain on your veins and vein walls, thereby increasing the chances that varicose veins will develop.
- People with a history of blood clot or damage to a vein: Damage to a vein, due to trauma or the presence of a blood clot, can harm the vein valves and walls, thereby turning that vein into a varicose vein.
- People with sedentary jobs: If you have a desk job that requires that you sit for long periods of time, this increases the risk of your developing varicose veins. The muscles of the legs move blood forward and when you sit for a prolonged period, you prevent these muscles from helping move the blood against gravity.
- People who are standing workers: If you are in a profession that requires that you stand for long periods of time, such as restaurant workers, flight attendants, teachers, and mail carriers, you are more at risk for developing varicose veins. This is because standing for a prolonged period of time puts additional pressure on your vein walls.
- Women who are pregnant: During pregnancy, the developing foetus rests on the veins in the lower abdomen. This increases the amount of blood pooling in the legs. Pregnancy-related varicose veins tend to disappear after the baby is born.
It is important that you understand whether you are at risk for developing varicose veins and when to worry about varicose veins. While the above factors place you at increased risk, you can develop varicose veins even if you do not belong to any of these high-risk groups. You should consult your vascular surgeon if you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms…
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, and whole legs
- A feeling of heaviness or discomfort in your legs
- A throbbing or burning in your legs
- Itching around your veins
- Skin changes, such as hardening of the skin or a change in skin colour
Self-care, such as exercise, elevating your legs, or wearing compression stockings can help ease the pain of varicose veins and can prevent them from getting worse. However, if your symptoms continue or worsen that is when to worry about varicose veins. You should then consult with a vascular surgeon for specific treatment for your varicose veins.
Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, of the Flow Vascular Clinic, in Hyderabad, India, is one such vascular surgeon. He is an expert in treating varicose veins and will work closely with you to determine the best varicose veins treatment. He may recommend a minimally invasive treatment called Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT).
EVLT has a very high success rate. Your surgeon will first confirm all your weak veins using a Colour Doppler Ultrasound Scan. This will help him determine where to insert the catheter. This area is then numbed using a local anaesthetic. A laser is used during this treatment.
Once the area is numb, a small incision is made, and a catheter and guide-wire are inserted into your skin. A laser fiber is then passed through the catheter until it extends approximately 1 to 2 centimetres from the end, after which it is secured in place. The laser energy then seals the faulty vein and the blood flow is redirected to the healthy veins. The entire process takes about an hour.
This procedure is minimally invasive, so you will not experience much pain. EVLT has very little recovery time and you are encouraged to walk and resume your day-to-day activities on the same day.
So, if you have stubborn varicose veins, whatever your age and risk factor, do consider consulting Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, and avail of treatment that is best suited for your age, lifestyle, and other factors. Once your varicose veins are successfully treated, you will come away feeling so much better than before. After all, choosing the right vascular surgeon is not only necessary but imperative!
For more information about varicose veins and their risk factors, as well as the treatment for DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com