Vein Disease

What are Varicose Veins?
Who gets varicose veins?


Education

How does the procedure actually work?
What are the advantages of laser treatment?

Treatments

What are the treatment options available?



Causes, incidence, and risk factors

  • In normal veins, valves in the vein keep blood moving forward toward the heart. With varicose veins, the valves do not function properly, allowing blood to remain in the vein. Pooling of blood in a vein causes it to enlarge.


  • This process usually occurs in the veins of the legs, although it may occur elsewhere. Varicose veins are common, affecting mostly women.


  • Symptoms

    1. Fullness, heaviness, aching, and sometimes pain in the legs
    2. Visible, enlarged veins
    3. Mild swelling of ankles
    4. Brown discoloration of the skin at the ankles
    5. Skin ulcers near the ankle (this is more often seen in severe cases)

    Causes include:

    1. Defective valves from birth (congenitally defective valves)
    2. Pregnancy
    3. Thrombophlebitis

  • Standing for a long time and having increased pressure in the abdomen may make you more likely to develop varicose veins, or may make the condition worse. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides cosmetic problems, varicose veins are often painful, especially when standing or walking. They often itch, and scratching them can cause ulcers. Serious complications are uncommon. Varicose veins, commonly referred to as "varicosities", represent enlarged collaterals (branches) of so-called saphenous venous system affected by a disease called "superficial venous insufficiency of lower extremities". Varicosities, therefore, constitute not a disease, but a symptom of superficial venous insufficiency.

  • Primary varicose veins occur because of congenitally defective valves, or without a known cause. Secondary varicose veins occur because of another condition, such as when a pregnant woman develops varicose veins.


  • Signs and tests

    1. The diagnosis is mainly based on the appearance of the leg veins when you are standing or seated with the legs dangling.


    2. At times a physician may order a duplex ultrasound exam of the extremity to see blood flow in the veins, and to rule out other disorders of the legs (such as a blood clot). Rarely, an angiogram of the legs may be performed to rule out other disorders.




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