Many individuals develop varicose veins at some point in their lives. These veins may be painful and can mar the appearance of the leg or other body part. Typically, varicose veins do not cause any life-threatening effects. In some cases, they may be confused with deep vein thrombosis.
Since deep vein thrombosis is potentially fatal, patients with this medical problem should consult with their doctor or a trained medical practitioner immediately.
The veins within the body all contain leaflet valves. When they are functioning normally, these valves stop blood from flowing in the wrong direction. These valves are necessary because the blood has to flow against gravity to reach the heart. Leg muscles pump the blood and it returns to the heart.
Varicose veins occur whenever the valves stop working correctly. Blood is allowed to flow backwards and this causes the veins to enlarge. This condition commonly occurs in the legs due to the pressure placed on them by standing. In addition to being a cosmetic problem, it can also be painful and can cause swelling.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are more likely to occur in women than men. Often, this condition runs in the family and is more likely to occur if there is a genetic predisposition. Certain factors like pregnancy or menopause can lead to varicose veins. Likewise, leg injuries, excessive standing or abdominal straining can cause varicose veins.
Many people experience varicose veins as a normal side effect of gaining. In rare cases, varicose veins may be caused by a post phlebitis obstruction, a malformation or a rare medical syndrome.
What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Cosmetically, individuals may notice a blue line or spider like veins appearing in the affected area. They may experience ankle swelling in the evenings or suffer from a brownish skin discoloration near the affected area. Other symptoms include pain or heavy legs.
These symptoms may worsen after working out or at night. The skin in the surrounding area may become itchy, red or dry as waste products build up. Individuals may experience cramps when they move suddenly or develop restless leg syndrome. Injuries may take longer to heal and white scar-line patches may develop.
How Does Varicose Veins Causes Water Retention?
All of the body has to be working correctly in order for nutrients to be used and waste removed. In the human body, the blood veins and heart are responsible for transporting nutrients and waste around the body. If the blood veins are not functioning properly, it can limit the amount of nutrients reaching the tissue.
This can also stop the tissue from releasing waste and liquids. Over time, this can lead to water retention problems. Normally, this occurs in the third stage of varicose veins. Standing for long time periods can worsen the symptoms of water retention. To lessen the pain associated with fluid retention, individuals can try to rest their legs above heart level or wear compression stockings.
How are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of varicose veins is normally extremely straightforward. Individuals can visit their doctor for a basic consultation. Initially, the doctor will look at the individual’s legs and feet. The varicose veins will be apparent when the individual is standing.
The medical practitioner may also look for swelling, changes in skin color or other signs that the skin is breaking down. Sores or tender spots on the skin may also be a sign of varicose veins. If the doctor believes the problem is serious, they may order tests to look for underlying medical conditions or deep vein problems that are causing the varicose veins.
What are the Treatments for Varicose Veins?
In serious cases, doctors may choose to use surgery or injections to treat varicose veins. Sclerotherapy can be used to close the vein and stop it from functioning. They could use surgery to tie the vein or remove it completely. New radiofrequency procedures can close the vein or laser treatment can completely destroy it. Typically, these treatments are only done when the situation is serious.
What are Natural Ways to treat Varicose Veins?
Natural treatment methods may not cure the ailment, but they can alleviate it temporarily. Many individuals find that elevating their legs can temporarily ease the pain.
Compression stockings can help to improve the circulation within the legs and can correct any swelling problems. Other pneumatic compression devices can also be used in place of stockings.
Topical gels can be used to ease symptoms associated with inflammation, dryness or pain. Likewise, ibuprofen can help with inflammation, but should be used sparingly. For natural solutions, essential oils like cypress or lemongrass have been effective. Likewise, flavonoids can help alleviate symptoms.
Varicose veins can be painful and uncomfortable. Along with the spidery blue lines, many individuals may experience swelling or water retention. To treat the ailment naturally, individuals can use herbal supplements or compression stockings.