When it comes to varicose veins, most people just think that they are unsightly to look at and provide mild discomfort. However, the fact is that if they do go untreated they can lead to more serious medical conditions.
As a result, knowing how to identify the varicose veins, understanding the symptoms and getting on top of it early is important for both your short term and long term health. I am sure that if you have ever experienced the condition or know someone who has, it is obvious that there are a few uncomfortable symptoms that arise as the varicose veins become worse.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins arise when a vein in your leg no longer works the way that it should. These blood vessels are designed to pump blood up the legs and to the heart. However, sometimes the valves that stop the blood from falling back down, as a result of gravity, can break meaning that the blood will pool in that particular part of the blood vessel.
Over time this causes a build-up of pressure and the blood vessels begin to bulge and the blood can even leak out into the muscle which is what causes red or purple spots around the affected area. It is important to note that despite this failed function, there are no issues with the rest of the circulatory system and your body will function as normal.
The issue is when these varicose veins are not dealt with properly. Whilst initially, it may only result in pain and a poor aesthetic on the leg, if not treated the varicose vein can lead to a hardening of the surrounding tissue requiring surgery or even lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately and swiftly and it is therefore recommended that varicose veins are treated as soon as they are identified.
What treatments are available?
All treatment of varicose veins will require a scan of the legs to identify all areas affected. This also gives the doctors a good idea of the impact that the condition is having and any other areas that may need treatment.
Following the scan, the doctor and you are able to discuss the various treatment options available based on the condition. Following the treatment, regular check-ups will be conducted until the condition has been eliminated.
- Endovenous Therapy
This procedure is completed through the use of a laser to close off the affected area. A local anaesthetic is applied to the area and the doctors will run the laser over the area. The energy from the laser is then able to close off the walls of the blood vessel and eventually the body will reabsorb it as it is recognised as no longer useful by the body.
This procedure is ideal as it is a walk in walk out treatment that does not take long and allows you to get on with the rest of your day and week.
- Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
This procedure is incredibly accurate getting right to the source of the issue and is used for more complex conditions. The ultrasound allows the doctors to find the exact source of the problem and inject the sclerosing agent that heals the affected area.
The foam initially removes any blood that is within the blood vessel ensuring that the sclerosing agent is able to work at its best through direct contact with the wall of the blood vessel.
Whilst this process is slightly longer than some others, it is far more effective when it comes to the larger and more greatly affected blood vessels. However, it stills allows the patient to leave on the day of the treatment without any major restrictions.