Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Varicose Veins

English: The illustration shows how a varicose...

English: The illustration shows how a varicose vein forms in a leg. Figure A shows a normal vein with a working valve and normal blood flow. Figure B shows a varicose vein with a deformed valve, abnormal blood flow, and thin, stretched walls. The middle image shows where varicose veins might appear in a leg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


49 year old male

49 year old male (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Varicose veins  are a common and unsightly problem for many people. Although they are rarely serious enough to require medical intervention, they can lead to pain, blood clots or ulcers. Varicose veins usually occur on the legs and are more common in women, although up to 19% of men also suffer from this condition.

Veins are the blood vessels through which blood is returned to the heart. A system of valves in the veins normally prevent blood from flowing backward and keep the blood moving back to the heart. Sometimes, however, these valves fail and do not perform efficiently. This allows blood to pool up in the vein. Damaged valves are considered to be the main cause of varicose veins.

Varicose veins often appear to be bluish or purple and may bulge from the pressure of blood build-up. They are thickened and convoluted, taking twists and turns where blood pools instead of returning to the heart.

Varicose veins are often caused by prolonged standing or sitting as well as other conditions like obesity or pregnancy. Heredity also plays a role in the likelihood of developing varicose veins. If your mother had varicose veins, your chances of developing them is increased. Some symptoms of varicose veins may be edema, or swelling in ankles and feet.  You may feel a tiredness, pain or a heavy feeling in your legs.

You can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins by getting plenty of exercise and avoid prolonged standing or sitting. Wearing compression socks can also help support your veins and improve blood flow.

If you already have unsightly varicose veins, there are treatments which can alleviate your symptoms and improve the appearance of your skin.

Larger varicose veins can benefit from ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, in which a vein is closed off, thus preventing the pooling of blood in the damaged vein, which is what causes varicose veins to bulge and appear like ridges.

Laser treatments and sclerotherapy can also be effective for spider veins.  Spider veins are very thin and just under the surface of the skin. They appear as tiny blue or purple lines that radiate out from a center like spider legs.

The first step to treating varicose veins is to map the veins, so that the correct treatment may be applied and the best outcome achieved. These procedures involve minimal discomfort and any bruising fades within a few weeks. The procedures do not require time off from work or a cessation of regular activities. Following treatment, we recommend moderate exercise and the wearing of supportive compression socks.

If you are ready to rid yourself of those varicose veins, contact us at BC Laser and Skin Care. We have trained, professional staff and care is provided by a board certified physician. We offer varicose vein removal methods utilizing laser and ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.

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  1. Sharyn Ziebarth says

    Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins. ^….*