Varicose Veins

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

Varicose veins are close to the surface of your skin and easy to see. Healthcare providers can diagnose the condition during a physical examination. They’ll feel your veins and examine them while you’re sitting and standing. To see detailed images of your veins and check for complications, your provider may recommend an ultrasound. This safe, painless test uses sound waves to produce pictures of tissues inside your body. Ultrasounds can show blood clots and how your valves are working.

What is the treatment for varicose veins?

Although there isn’t a cure for varicose veins, these treatments can reduce their appearance and relieve discomfort:

  • Elevation:
    To increase blood flow and decrease pressure in your veins, you should elevate your legs above your waist several times throughout the day.
  • Elastic stockings:
    Supportive stockings or socks compress your veins and reduce discomfort. The compression stops your veins from stretching and helps blood flow.
  • Injection therapy (sclerotherapy):
    During sclerotherapy, a healthcare provider injects a solution into your vein. The solution causes the vein walls to stick together. Eventually, your vein turns into scar tissue and fades away.
  • Laser therapy:
    In a minimally invasive procedure called endovenous thermal ablation, healthcare providers use a catheter (a long, thin tube) and laser to close off a damaged vein.
  • Vein surgery:
    During these procedures, also called ligation and stripping, the surgeon ties off your affected vein (ligation) to stop blood from pooling. The surgeon may remove (strip) the vein to prevent varicose veins from reappearing.

Complications/side effects of the treatment

Half of the people who have surgical stripping get varicose veins again within five years, and varicose veins can happen again after endovenous ablation as well.

  • Scarring
  • Skin burns
  • Infection
  • Injury to a nerve
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a vein deep inside your body).

How can I prevent varicose veins?

You may not be able to prevent varicose veins. You can reduce your chances of developing them by living an active, healthy lifestyle. Healthcare providers recommend many of the same measures to prevent and treat varicose veins:

  • Avoid long periods of standing:
    To encourage blood flow, take regular breaks to stretch and walk around, especially if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet.
  • Elevate Your legs:
    Raising your feet above your waist helps blood flow to your heart.
  • Maintain a Healthy weight:
    Getting rid of excess pounds reduces pressure inside your blood vessels.
  • Quit Tobacco use:
    Smoking damages blood vessels, decreases blood flow and causes a wide range of health problems.
  • Stay Active:
    To improve circulation, move frequently and avoid sitting still for prolonged periods

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