Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins (blood vessels) close to your skin’s surface. The word varicose comes from the Latin root varix, which means “twisted.” Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because you stand and walk upright, which increases the pressure in the veins in your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild and medically insignificant variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes the condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other disorders of the circulatory system. Varicose veins of the legs affect about 1 in 5 adults, and are more common in older women. They may cause discomfort but pose no risk to overall health.

The effects of varicose veins are:

  • slow blood flow in the veins
  • poor supply of oxygen, glucose and other nutritional requirements to surrounding tissues
  • increased back-pressure to the tissues they drain
  • heaviness, aching and tiredness in the legs
  • varicose eczema and increased pigmentation in the skin·
  • accumulation of waste products in veins which can result in change to skin colour (stasis dermatitis), and inflammation leading to varicose eczema, or in rare cases ulceration

Treatment of Varicose Veins:

Adequate external support of the surface veins, as by well-designed and properly selected compression stockings, can be very helpful in treating varicose veins. This will improve blood flow, relieve lack of oxygen and help to prevent the accumulation of waste products that causes pain. It will divert blood from the surface into the deep veins, where the muscle pump works better, and prevent blood from flowing back out of the deep veins to the surface veins. Symptoms are relieved and even established varicose ulcers will often heal.

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