Who wants to have varicose veins? These unsightly veins appearing on the back of the legs can surely be a major turn off. It would make you want to hide your legs forever. But don't despair, learning about this problem can help you take the necessary steps to bid them goodbye for good. Here are what you have to know about varicose veins.
What Are Varicose Veins?
These refer to enlarged veins usually in twisted form appearing on the surface of the skin, most commonly on the legs and ankles. They are usually not a cause for concern but there are times when varicose veins can indicate a more serious condition. These are caused primarily by the weakening of the valves and veins found in your legs. One-way valves in the veins help blood flow from the legs up to the heart. When the valves don't work normally, blood can become clogged in your legs, making the veins weak and large.
Risk factors for this condition include genetics, age, gender, weight, pregnancy, and lifestyle. It usually runs in the family. This means that if your mother or sibling has varicose veins, there is a large chance that you'll also develop this later in life. Elderly people are also prone to this problem.
It's also more common in women than in men, probably because women wear high heels, which make blood circulation in the lower part of the body a little more difficult. Being pregnant and overweight also contribute to varicose veins by increasing pressure on the veins of the legs. Being inactive or having a work where you're required to stand for long periods can also increase the risk of varicose veins.
The primary symptom of this condition are veins that appear blue, swollen and twisted under the skin. Other symptoms include feeling of heaviness, burning sensation, aching, tiredness, pain in the legs, swelling of the feet and ankles, and itchiness of the veins.
Be wary of symptoms that indicate a more serious condition. These include swelling of the entire leg, intense pain on the calf, skin discoloration, dry thinned skin, inflammation, scaly patches, and open sores. When these symptoms appear, the varicose veins can signal a more serious problem called deep vein thrombosis, which require immediate medical attention.
For mild cases, home remedies can be used to alleviate the condition. One way to do that is to wear compression stockings that will help relieve the pressure on the leg veins. Another way is to elevate your legs while sitting or lying down. This would encourage circulation of the blood in the legs. This is especially important after standing up for long periods.
Speaking of standing up, it would be a good idea to avoid long periods of standing or even sitting. Take a break once in a while to let the blood in your legs circulate. Moreover, you need to get plenty of exercise. As mentioned earlier, inactivity can increase the risk of varicose veins significantly. For serious cases, treatment would include sclerotherapy, laser treatment, radiofrequency treatment, and surgery.