Varicose veins

Varicose veins from Center for Interventional Medicine, Northern Virginia

By: Center for Interventional Medicine, Northern Virginia  08/26/2014
Keywords: Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, Vein

What are Varicose Veins? Varicose veins are a very common problem; as many as 40% of women have at least a few varicose veins. Veins return blood from the arms and legs to the heart. In the legs, veins have to work against the force of gravity, and thus they have one-way valves that allow forward blood flow, but not reverse. Your legs and arms have two major types of veins: superficial and deep. The superficial veins are near the surface of the skin and are often visible. The deep veins are located near the bones and are surrounded by muscle. Contraction (squeezing) of the muscles in the arms and legs with exercise helps blood flow in the veins. Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging superficial veins. They are usually located on the inside of the calf or thigh and develop due to weakness of the vein wall and loss of valve function. Under the pressure of gravity, they continue to enlarge, and in the course of time, they may become elongated, twisted, pouched, and thickened. Spider veins or telangiectasia are tiny dilated, veins, usually less than 1-mm in diameter, located at the skin surface. How Common are Varicose Veins? Venous problems are among the most common chronic conditions, and occur in as many as 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men. It is estimated that at least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins. Symptoms of Varicose Veins Varicose veins may be entirely symptom-free and cause no health problems. When symptomatic, varicose veins may cause ankle and leg swelling, heaviness or tension, aching, restlessness, cramps, itching, and skin discoloration. After a long time, some people develop skin ulcers, which can become infected. Varicose Veins are Caused by Venous Reflux Disease Varicose veins and the associated symptoms are most often the result of venous reflux disease, which refers to blood flow going downwards (instead of upwards) in the veins of the leg. Venous reflux disease tends to occur most commonly in the great saphenous vein, which is a long vein in the thigh. Many of the veins that become varicose veins are actually branches that come off of the great saphenous vein. When the great saphenous vein develops venous reflux, the blood backs up into these branch veins, causing them to enlarge and become prominent. Risk Factors for the Development of Varicose Veins The most important factors leading to the development of varicose veins include: • Heredity • Increasing age • Female gender • Multiple pregnancies. • Prolonged standing How is Venous Reflux Diagnosed? An ultrasound examination of the leg veins will find venous reflux. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound if he or she suspects that you have venous reflux disease. Varicose Veins Treatment Options New minimally invasive treatments have been developed to reduce the need for surgery. With Endovenous Ablation, a catheter is threaded into the great saphenous vein at the level of the knee, and passed up to the upper thigh level. Release of radiofrequency or laser energy at the tip of the catheter, as it is pulled out under ultrasound guidance, causes the great saphenous vein to completely close, which eliminates the venous reflux. This procedure has replaced surgical vein stripping, and is considered a minimally invasive outpatient procedure allowing the patient to return to her normal activities almost immediately. Sclerotherapy is an injection of a sclerosing solution into spider veins (telangiectasias) or small varicose veins to block these veins. It is done to improve the appearance of these small veins at the skin surface.

Keywords: Compression Stockings, Interventional Radiologist, Laser Treatment, Laser Vein Removal, Laser Vein Treatment, Leg Veins, Spider Vein Removal, Spider Vein Treatment, Spider Veins, Varicose, Varicose And Spider Veins, Varicose Vein Removal, Varicose Vein Surgery, Varicose Vein Treatment, Varicose Veins, Vascular Surgery, Vein, Vein Care, Vein Clinic, Vein Removal, Vein Specialists, Vein Stripping, Vein Surgery, Vein Treatment, Veins, Venous Disease, venus reflux

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