Varicose Veins Overview
What’s the definition of varicose veins?
Varicose veins are dilated and enlarged blood vessels that bulge out of the skin’s surface. While healthy veins follow a straight path, varicose veins are tangled, twisted, tortuous, or knotted, often resembling a dense mass of knotted ropes. They may be red or bluish-purple, and they’re mostly seen on the legs, but they can also appear on other parts of the body. The medical term for varicose veins is “varicosities,” and it affects 1 in 3 people living in the United States.
What’s the root cause of varicose veins?
Varicose veins are essentially dilated blood vessels caused by elevated pressure within the superficial veins close to the skin’s surface. However, the root cause of varicose veins can be traced to an underlying circulatory disorder known as chronic venous insufficiency.
Healthy leg veins are supposed to carry deoxygenated blood from the legs to the heart, moving against the force of gravity. All leg veins contain flap-like mechanisms known as vein valves — these valves act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards the heart but not backward. When your vein valves collapse or malfunction due to various factors, blood flows backward and eventually pools in the leg veins. Over time, blood continues accumulating and adding pressure to the superficial leg veins, making them swell, dilate, and eventually bulge out in the form of varicose veins.
What are the risk factors for varicose veins?
The leading risk factor for varicose veins is genetic predisposition. If your biological parents have a history of vein problems, there’s a 90% chance you’ll eventually have symptoms of vein disease as well, such as spider veins and varicose veins.
Old age is another prominent risk factor for varicose veins because your vein valves grow weaker with time. Men over 50 are far more likely to get varicose veins than younger men.
Women are more likely to get varicose veins than men because they have higher estrogen levels, which is one of the risk factors for varicose veins. Higher estrogen levels lead to a higher risk of vein disease. Post-menopausal women, pregnant women, and those who have undergone multiple pregnancies have an even higher risk of varicose veins.
Teachers, nurses, drivers, and those with desk jobs are more likely to get varicose veins because blood can accumulate in the leg veins when you sit or stand still for long periods of time.
Other risk factors for varicose veins include obesity, a history of blood clots, and undergoing hormone therapy.
Are there any symptoms of varicose veins?
Varicose veins are often asymptomatic, causing nothing more problematic than self-consciousness and social anxiety (reason enough to seek varicose vein treatment). However, varicose veins are often accompanied by various other symptoms and complications due to the underlying chronic venous insufficiency.
Some of the common symptoms accompanying varicose veins include spider veins, leg heaviness, throbbing leg veins, frequent leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, swollen ankles and legs, hard and fatty deposits (lіроdеrmаtоѕсlеrоѕіѕ) under the skin, and more.
If left untreated, venous insufficiency progresses rapidly, eventually leading to skin discoloration near the calves, ankles, and shin, venous eczema (stasis dermatitis), and non-healing wounds (ulceration).
What are the best varicose vein treatments in California?
Most people try home remedies before seeking varicose vein treatment. However, most home remedies and supposedly “natural” treatments yield no results because the only way to fix the diseased vein is through medical intervention.
You can, however, engage in physical exercises (swimming, running, and cycling) to encourage blood circulation to the heart, elevate your legs while sitting, and wear a compression stocking. These lifestyle changes will make the accumulated blood flow towards the heart, reducing some of the symptoms of vein disease. But they don’t treat vein disease or varicose veins.
The best varicose vein treatments in California include radiofrequency ablation and sclerotherapy. Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys the abnormal leg veins, restoring effective blood circulation. And sclerotherapy is a procedure wherein a special foam or liquid solution is injected into the diseased veins to seal their vessels.
Vascular surgery, also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, is another option. It involves the physical removal of varicose veins through small incisions on the skin.
Do varicose vein treatments cause any complications?
Minimally invasive varicose vein treatments are extremely safe and comfortable with nearly perfect success rates. Radiofrequency ablation and sclerotherapy are ideal for varicose vein treatment, and they cause little-to-no post-treatment side-effects. Furthermore, the vein doctors at our vein treatment center in California curate the treatments according to your specific needs to ensure optimal results without any complications.
How does a vein doctor diagnose and treat varicose veins?
During your consultation, the vein doctor will review your medical history, note your symptoms, examine your leg veins, and possibly run a duplex ultrasound scan. The vascular imaging test helps them visualize the direction of blood flow in the leg veins, revealing the presence (or absence) of vein disease. After diagnosing the root cause of varicose veins, they curate the ideal vein treatment plan for you.