The veins play an important role in carrying out blood low in oxygen back to the heart. They serve as the transportation system that carry the blood used by the body organs back to the heart and the lungs where the blood becomes oxygenated again ready to be distributed again to the circulatory system. Aside from being a transportation system of the blood, the veins also become a storage system that keeps the blood ready to be used when the body organs need it. Veins have flexible walls with the ability to control the amount of blood to be released in the body when needed and store the blood in it when the demand for blood is low during rest. When the blood does not circulate well in the body, causing the veins to become enlarged and bulging, varicose veins occur.
Who are at risk to varicose veins?
Varicose veins are common among women than men. Women are highly at risk of getting it about 50 to 55 percent and it is prevalent among individuals at the age of 50 and higher. There are other known risk factors that can cause varicose veins that include age, pregnancy, hormonal changes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, genetics and sun exposure. The veins harden as one ages and it loses its flexibility. Genetics can also play a role in the prevalence of varicose veins, especially among those born with weak veins. Changes in the hormonal activities can also cause changes in the integrity of the veins, which is common during pregnancy, puberty and menopause.
Prolonged sitting and standing can also cause the veins to become enlarged because of immobility that cause the blood to pool down the vein, causing it to work harder to push the blood back to the heart. Heavier weight can also cause added pressure to the vein. Varicose veins due to sun exposure commonly appear on the cheeks and nose.
What are the symptoms of a varicose vein?
Varicose veins usually occur in the lower legs, mainly due to the pull of gravity and pressure of the body weight to the lower extremities. The most common symptom of a varicose vein is pain that gets worse during prolonged sitting and standing. It also manifests cramping and throbbing pain, and a feeling of heaviness and swelling of the lower extremities. In severe cases, darkening of the skin occurs. Rashes are also common that may be itchy.
Should you be concerned about having a varicose vein?
While varicose veins rarely cause other serious health problems, they can provide you discomforts and bothersome symptoms. However, in certain cases, it can lead to some serious health conditions like skin ulcerations or sores, bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, and superficial thrombophlebitis. It is crucial to see a doctor once your varicose veins are causing you distress and significant discomfort.
How are varicose veins treated?
Medical treatments and changes in your lifestyle can help relieve the symptoms of a varicose vein. The treatment approach is mainly focused on relieving the symptoms, preventing complications and improve the appearance of the affected extremities.
1. Sclerotherapy. This form of treatment is most commonly done without the need of an anesthesia where a liquid is injected into the vein to cause its walls to collapse and prevent the blood flow in that vein. Eventually, the vein turns into a scar and will then fade away.
2. Compression stockings. The stockings help put pressure to the vein in order to push back the blood into circulation.
3. Laser treatment. The burst of light is introduced into the vein in order to make it fade away.
4. Surgery. This is the treatment option for larger varicose veins.
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