Varicose veins, often considered as mere cosmetic blemishes or an inevitable part of aging, have distinct underlying causes, often linked to unhealthy habits.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins, also known as varicosities, are dilated and twisted veins primarily seen in the lower extremities. They are a prominent clinical sign of venous insufficiency, a condition affecting the blood flow in the veins. Although varicose veins are more common as individuals age, they are not solely an age-related issue but can also be influenced by genetics and lifestyle choices.
Preventing Varicose Veins
While there is no foolproof way to prevent varicose veins, adopting certain behaviours and undergoing regular check-ups with a specialist can significantly reduce your risk. Prevention mainly involves the following factors:
- Behavioural Habits: Correct lifestyle choices are crucial. Maintaining an active lifestyle, not smoking, and following a balanced diet are essential.
- Risk Factors: Certain factors, such as gender (with women being more prone to varicose veins due to factors like pregnancy and hormonal fluctuations), family history, and sedentary habits, can increase susceptibility.
- Aging: Age is a contributing factor, as varicose veins worsen over time.
Effects and Complications of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can lead to various symptoms and complications, including itching, skin redness, and a sense of heaviness in the legs. They may also result in more significant skin changes like dark spots (hyperchromia), dermatitis, eczema, and ulcers.
The treatment of varicose veins varies based on their size and severity. It can range from addressing small, unsightly ‘telangiectasias’ (capillaries) to more prominent varicose veins.
- Sclerosing Foam: This treatment involves injecting a special foam solution into the affected veins, is well-tolerated, and can be done as an outpatient procedure without anaesthesia. It’s especially suitable for smaller varicose veins.
- Endovascular Surgical Procedures: Endovascular surgical techniques are employed for more extensive cases. These procedures are performed under local anaesthesia and leverage cutting-edge technology to achieve results similar to traditional surgery but with fewer complications and side effects.
It is important to note that consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable if you suspect varicose veins or are at risk due to familial history or lifestyle. Early detection and appropriate intervention can effectively manage this condition.