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August 17, 20190

Do your legs sometimes feel heavy and achy? Do some of the veins on your legs appear swollen and twisted? If so, you may be experiencing varicose veins. With approximately 30% of Americans living with varicose veins, this condition is very common, especially in women. (i)

Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of varicose veins.

 

What Are Varicose Veins?Normal One-Way Vein Valves Illustration

Veins are a part of your body’s circulatory system. They carry blood from your body’s tissues back to your heart where it picks up oxygen. From there, your arteries carry the oxygenated blood back to your body’s tissues. (ii)

Your veins have one-way valves that keep the blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are damaged or weakened, rather than flowing back towards your heart blood can back up and pool in your veins, causing them to swell. Veins that are enlarged and swollen enough to be seen are known as varicose veins. These twisted and bulging veins appear most commonly on legs, though they can appear anywhere on your body.

There is a smaller version of varicose veins known as spider veins, which are enlarged capillaries close to the surface of the skin. Capillaries are tiny, thin-walled veins that act as a bridge between your arteries and your veins. Spider veins get their name honestly—they may look like a spider web or branches of a tree on your skin.

 

Varicose Vein Risk Factors

Varicose veins don’t discriminate—nearly anyone at any age can develop them. There are certain factors that increase your chances of developing varicose veins. These risk factors include:

  • Family history – If you have family members with varicose veins, your risk for having them increases.
  • Standing or sitting too long – Staying in one position for a long time — particularly if you are standing or your legs are crossed or bent — may force the veins in your legs to work harder to pump blood back to your heart. If you have a job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time, your risk of developing varicose veins is higher.
  • Being overweight – Carrying extra weight can put extra pressure on your veins, which may increase the likelihood that you develop varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy – During pregnancy, your growing baby puts pressure on your abdomen and on the veins in your legs. Many women find the varicose veins they develop during pregnancy go away within 3 to 12 months after giving birth.
  • Aging – As the number of candles on your birthday cake increases, so too does your chance of developing varicose veins. This is typically caused by normal “wear and tear” of aging that may cause your veins to weaken.
  • Gender – Women tend to get varicose veins more often than men. This is believed to be because of hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
  • Previous leg injury – If your leg sustained an injury at some point, the veins may be weakened in their ability to move blood back to your heart. Former damage to the veins in your legs increases your chances of developing varicose veins. (iii)

If you have one or more risk factors, it is important to check your body for early signs of varicose veins on a regular basis.

 

Signs of Varicose Veins

Swollen, twisted veins aren’t the only indication that you have varicose veins. Other signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Large, bluish or purple-appearing bulging veins that you can see under the surface of your skin
  • Swelling in your ankles and feet
  • Painful or achy legs that feel “heavy”
  • Muscle cramping in your legs—particularly at night
  • Itchy legs, especially on your lower leg and ankles
  • Burning or throbbing sensations in your legs
  • Discolored patches of skin around the area where you have varicose veins

You may find your varicose vein symptoms worsen in warmer weather (iv), or if you’ve been standing for a long period of time. Your symptoms may improve if you rest and elevate your legs.

Some people with varicose veins develop a rash known as stasis dermatitis. It is important that you speak to a healthcare professional if you develop cracked, itchy skin around your varicose veins. If left untreated, varicose veins rash could develop into venous leg ulcers.

If you think you have varicose veins, the next step is to talk to your doctor for a diagnosis.

 

Early Warning Signs of Varicose Veins

In order to detect varicose veins early on, you’ll want to check your body regularly. Before the tell-tale bulging and swollen veins appear, your initial symptoms may be misdiagnosed as dermatological problems, since varicose veins may cause skin discoloration, give an unnatural shine to the skin and/or cause thickening or hardening of your skin. (v)

Other early warning signs of varicose veins include:

  • Light red spots on your lower legs. These spots may indicate that you have venous insufficiency, increasing your risk of developing varicose veins at some point.
  • Your legs hurt a little. Notice a dull aching in your legs? This could be an early sign of varicose veins.
  • Dark, visible veins close to the surface of your skin. Individuals who have more visible veins have a higher likelihood of varicose veins.
  • Swollen feet at the end of the day. If your feet are swollen at the end of each day, this may indicate that you are at higher risk of getting varicose veins.
  • Even without these early warning signs, there is a chance you may develop varicose veins, particularly if you have a family history or other risk factors.

Although varicose veins themselves generally do not lead to long-term health problems, it is important to take care of them and manage your symptoms. In some cases, varicose veins may worsen over time. Know that help is out there. Talk to your doctor for a formal diagnosis.

 

To find out everything you need to know about varicose veins feel free to contact us 044430700 or info@lafamilia.ae

 

Sources:

(i) I Lin, F., Zhang, S., Sun, Y., Ren, S., & Liu, P. (2015). The management of varicose veins. International Surgery. 100, 185-189. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301287/

(ii) Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (2010 Mar 12). How does the blood circulatory system work? Informed Health Online [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279250/  

(iii) Selçuk Kap?s?z, N., Uzun Kulao?lu, T., Fen, T., & Kap?s?z, H. F. (2014). Potential risk factors for varicose veins with superficial venous reflux. International Journal of Vascular Medicine, 531689.

(iv) Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (2008 Feb 20). Varicose veins: Overview. Informed Health Online [Internet] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279247/ 

(v) Mujadzic, M., Ritter, E.F., & Givens, K.F.(2015)A novel approach for the treatment of spider veins. Anesthetic Surgery Journal, 35(7): NP221-NP229. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4551823/


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August 15, 20190

If you’ve been diagnosed with, or you think you may have, varicose veins, you’re not alone. In fact, these dilated bulging bluish-purple veins that can be seen and often felt under the surface of the skin are present in up to 30% of people. i We know they’re common…but who gets varicose veins? Are you at risk?

While it’s true that varicose veins can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing them. Keep in mind that while some of these factors can be addressed through lifestyle changes, others are out of your control.

 

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Having a clear understanding about what causes varicose veins may help you to better understand the risk factors for varicose veins.

Veins carry the unoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart. One-way valves are present in veins to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves are not working properly, blood pools, the pressure within the veins increases straining the walls of the veins. Weak vein walls can also play a part in the stretching of varicose veins. These stretched veins can be seen and felt just under the surface of the skin.

Varicose veins should not be confused with spider veins, which are a smaller version of varicose veins made up of red or blue lines that look like a web or a branch. While spider veins usually do not have any physical symptoms, larger varicose veins have symptoms and can lead to more serious health conditions.

Are you wondering if you’re at risk for varicose veins? Let’s look at the top 9 risk factors for varicose veins.

 

9 Varicose Vein Risk Factors that You Should Be Aware Of

Now that you have a better understanding of what varicose veins are and what causes them, you are ready to learn about the major varicose vein risk factors.

  1. Gender – Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. The contributing factor is thought to be female hormones.ii
  2. Pregnancy – Being pregnant can cause varicose veins. The growing fetus in the uterus puts pressure on the veins in the lower abdomen which increases the blood pooling in the legs. The good news is that after the delivery of the baby when the increased pressure is relieved, the varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually disappear.iii
  3. Birth control pills – Taking medications that contain female hormones, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy used to treat menopause-related symptoms, increases the likelihood of developing varicose veins.ii
  4. Heredity – While it isn’t completely understood, if your family members have varicose veins, you are more likely to have them at some point too. ii
  5. Weight – Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing varicose veins. Increased body weight can compress the veins, which increases the pressure and strains the walls and valves. Losing weight may help.iv
  6. Getting older – As we age, our veins age with us. With time, the valves and walls weaken, and varicose veins are more likely to develop. This risk increases after age 40.It’s important to keep in mind that getting older is not the only risk factor of varicose veins.
  7. Desk jobs – Jobs that involve sitting or standing all day can increase pressure in the legs, which can result in the formation of varicose veins. v
  8. History of blood clots – If you have had a blood clot in the past, or deep vein thrombosis, you are at high risk for developing varicose veins. The clot may have damaged the valves and/or the walls of your veins. ii
  9. Damaged veins – If your veins have suffered traumatic damage, they may not be as strong as they once were; they can enlarge and become varicose veins. ii

Do you have any of these symptoms? Could you have varicose veins? If you have any of the following, you should talk to your doctor:

  • Twisted, bulging veins on your legs
  • Blue or reddish color of the skin around veins
  • Swelling of your feet that can come and go
  • Legs cramps
  • Itchy ankles, with or without a rash
  • Legs that feel heavy, uncomfortable or even painful

Having one or more of the above varicose vein risk factors does not mean that you definitely have or will develop varicose veins, but if you’re concerned, you should see your doctor. While some risk factors, such as family history and gender, cannot be changed, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to prevent varicose veins from getting worse. And keep in mind, surgery is not necessarily your only option for varicose veins treatment. There are safe and effective minimally invasive treatment options like sclerotherapy, endovenous laser therapy and microphlebecomy that might be an option for you. Want to learn more? Consult with a varicose vein specialist to best determine the severity of your varicose veins and what you can do about them.

 

 

Sources

i Lin, F., Zhang, S., Sun, Y., Ren, S., Liu, P., The Management of Varicose Veins. Int Surg, 2015. 100: p. 185-189. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301287/

ii National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Who Is at Risk for Varicose Veins?https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/atrisk 

iii Asbeutah, A., Al-Azemi, M., Al-Sarhan, S., Almajran, A., Asfar, S., Changes in the diameter and valve closure time of leg veins in primigravida women during pregnancy. J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord, 2015. 3(2): p. 147-153 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26993832

iv Davies, H., Popplewell, M., Singhal, R., Smith, N., Bradbury, A., Obesity and lower limb venous disease – The epidemic of phlebesity. Phlebology, 2016. May 13. pii: 0268355516649333. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27178403

v Piazza, G., Varicose Veins. Circulation, 2014. 130: p. 582-587. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/130/7/582.long


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August 15, 20191

What are varicose veins?

Veins carry blood from various parts of our body toward the heart through a one-way valve. If the vein is weak or has a faulty valve, the valve would stretch and no longer close properly. Thus, the veins become visibly swollen, as these are filled with blood that cannot flow properly. This causes pain, enlargement, discoloration, blood clots, sores that won’t heal, and other problems aside from their unattractive appearance.

 

Enlarged veins like these are called spider veins or varicose veins. The difference is that spider veins appear as small, thin purple, red or blue veins on the surface of the skin. On the other hand, varicose veins are larger swollen veins that are located slightly deeper than spider veins.

 

Reticular veins are medium-sized, greenish and non-bulging but abnormally visible veins. These can commonly be found on the outer surface of the thighs and behind the knees. The appearance of reticular veins means the onset or early stage of varicose veins.

 

Common Types of Varicose Veins

Spider Veins

Known in the medical field as telangiectasias, spider veins are small and thin veins that can be found close to the skin’s surface. These super-fine veins are connected to the larger venous system but they are not an integral part of it.

 

Reticular Veins

These are veins approximately one to four millimeter in size and appear to be green, flat veins. Reticular veins usually appear in the legs at the outer area of the thigh, in the calf region, or behind the knee. These are not that large in size and do not bulge but they are also unattractive.

 

Varicose Veins

These veins are caused by weak vein walls or faulty valves which stretches the valves and hinder proper closing. Because of this, blood is not able to flow normally, leading the veins to become enlarged visibly and triggering other symptoms such as pain, swelling and discoloration.

 

We offer specialized varicose veins treatment in Dubai

We are providing effective and innovative treatment for cases of varicose veins. To book a consultation or to inquire about the treatment cost in Dubai, please contact us through +971 4 44 30700 or info@lafamilia.ae