What are varicose veins?
Arteries are the blood vessels that carry the blood from the heart to the legs. Veins return the blood from the legs to the heart, carrying the blood against the gravity. The veins rely on leg muscles contraction and one-way valves inside of the veins to carry blood back toward the heart. The valves open and enable blood to flow through on its way upward, then close to stop blood from flowing backward. If the valves fail, the gravity keeps blood from flowing back to the heart efficiently. This produces a back up of blood. As a result, pressure builds up and the diseased veins become enlarged, eventually bulging to the skin’s surface. This process can affect veins of any size, however when larger veins fail, they are typically called varicose veins. When smaller veins are affected, they are typically called spider veins.
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms related to the varicose veins. Symptoms often worsen with prolonged standing. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to dermatitis, rash, discoloration, or even ulceration of the lower leg.
Heredity is the number one contributing factor that causes varicose and spider veins. Up to 55% of American women and 25% of men are affected by this condition. It is common for varicose veins to become more prominent during pregnancy and worsen with successive pregnancies.
Tips for Preventing Vein Disease:
- Wear compression stockings every day
- Stay fit and get plenty of exercise
- Wear comfortable shoes and low heels
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
- Put your feet up as often as possible
- Wear compression stockings during pregnancy
Compression stockings are not only an essential part of the treatment of vein disease but also help prevent vein disease. Compression stockings are used as first-line treatment for conservative non-surgical treatment of vein disease because the graduated compression brings the faulty valves together preventing blood backflow and diminishing symptoms of pain and edema. Compression stockings are used after the treatments to minimize pain and edema, maximize the results and prevent recurrent disease. Medi and Jobst stockings are available in our office.