Varicose veins are something everyone recognizes by sight. Senior citizens have them, sometimes they appear on the legs of pregnant women and others. They are those twisted, blue or bluish-black veins that stand out. No one really talks about them, but they can be a problem.
What are they?
Blood flows from the heart to the legs, assisted by gravity. On its way back up the leg to the heart, it is prevented from falling back by valves in the veins. Age, pregnancy, obesity, heredity, medical conditions, trauma or other factors weaken these valves and blood begins to pool in the veins instead of flowing to the heart. The result is varicose veins.
How to Prevent Them
The following exercises may help to prevent or lessen varicose veins, although there is no guarantee.
• Exercise at least thirty minutes a day. Walk, bicycle, or other exercises that involve working the legs.
• Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Set a kitchen timer and lift your legs, lift yourself up and down on your toes, shift your weight from one leg to the other if standing. If sitting, stretch your legs, get up and walk around for a few minutes.
• Place blocks under the foot of the bed to raise your legs slightly- a couple of inches should do it. This helps the blood flow back to the heart easier.
• Sit with your legs elevated. Lie down on the couch or floor and raise your legs to the level of or above the heart.
• Wear compression stockings. They come in natural colors, and with regular care, last a long time.
• Avoid wearing high heels. They force you to walk with your buttocks instead of your calves, where varicose veins appear.
They’re Present – Now What?
Actually, the same things you can do to prevent them are the things to do if you have them. Mild symptoms, such as itchiness or mild pain may be lessened.
Observe your legs and feel the veins on a regular basis. A spot that feels hard to the touch or extremely tender needs to be evaluated by a doctor. It is possible a blood clot has formed, and the doctor is the only one who can diagnose or treat it properly.
Cuts may seem to bleed more than you remember. Apply pressure and monitor the cut. It should stop after a few minutes. If not, or the bleeding seems to get worse or you experience severe pain from a mild cut, seek medical attention.
Let your doctor know about bruises. Follow the doctor’s advice to the letter.
Medical Treatments Available
Only allow a licensed doctor to recommend any treatment for varicose veins.
Treatments to damage or scar the vein so it will close include sclerotherapy, laser surgery and radio frequency treatment.
Other surgeries deal with manually tying off the vein, called ligation, and stripping which involves the surgical removal of the vein itself.
While many of these procedures are for cosmetic purposes, they can be recommended by a doctor for the treatment of blood clots or other conditions.
This article is untended for diagnosis of any medical condition nor advocate or prescribe any specific medication or treatment. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for proper diagnosis or treatment of any disease or condition.
Source: Staff Reference Article, “Varicose Veins – Topic Overview,” Web MD website, 5 February, 2010
Source: Staff Article, “How Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?” EHealth Website, no date given