All you need to know about varicose veins

Varicose veins is a common problem affecting the general population throughout the world. In India, it is estimated that around 25-30% of females and 10-15% of males suffer from it. However, a majority of patients with varicose veins are unaware of it and the complications it can invite

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Varicose veins can develop when small valves in the veins become weak. These valves usually stop blood flowing backwards through the veins, and when they are damaged blood can pool in the veins

What are the those bulgy/blue veins on your legs?

Varicose Veins are twisted and bulgy veins that protrude on the surface of the skin. Spider veins are similar, but less obvious. These blue and red tattoo like lines on the skin, as well as the varicose veins are commonly found in the legs located on the inside of the calf or thigh and occur primarily due to enlarged and weakened vein walls and faulty valves.

Under the pressure of gravity, they continue to enlarge, and in the course of time, they may become elongated, twisted, pouched and thickened. This leads to a painful and problematic condition that sometimes necessitates spider/varicose vein treatment.

The symptoms of Varicose Veins are:

  • Appearance of spider veins
  • Prominent veins (worsen during sitting or standing for long hours)
  • Burning or itching of the skin
  • Skin Colour changes
  • Swollen ankles & calves
  • Heaviness and fatigue in the legs
  • Bulging veins
  • Intense Pain
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Leg Throbbing
  • Venous ulcers and bleeding

A large pool of patients having professions like chefs, beauticians, policemen, surgeons, dentists, field job salesmen, marketing professionals, gym trainers, actor/actress, models, defence personnel, sailors suffer from Varicose veins.

This is commonly observed in patients who have:

  • Work involving long hours of standing/sitting
  • Overweight
  • Smoking/Tobacco Chewing
  • Pregnancy
  • Increasing age
  • Hereditary
  • Heavy lifting

Varicose veins are diagnosed primarily by physical examination. The accuracy of physical examination is confirmed by Venous Doppler Test which allows the doctor to visualise the size of the veins, observe the blood flow in the veins and functionality of the valves thus determining the extent of the disease. This diagnostic test is painless and does not require any prior preparation

Expert doctors can easily diagnose them, and offer specialised treatment with modern methods. Non-surgical methods of varicose vein/spider vein treatments are largely popular not only in big cities like Mumbai, but in all other cities also. Two such successful non-surgical procedures are Endovenous Laser Therapy for Varicose Veins (EVLT Varicose Veins) and Sclerotherapy.

The advantages of EVLT is:

  • Minimal invasive Methods
  • Very effective treatment
  • Long lasting treatment
  • Get on your feet in few hours
  • Can have quality of life
  • Go back to work next day

In general, varicose veins are not dangerous. However, if not treated for a long time there is a likelihood of developing DVT.

Occasionally, people with varicose veins develop ulcers on the legs, usually near the ankles. These ulcers can be extremely painful and take a long time to heal.

The author is the Founder and Principal Consultant at The Vein Center