Causes And Treatments For Varicose Veins

Learn about the causes and treatments for varicose veins. Veins just beneath the skin which have become twisted and enlarged are classified as varicose veins.

Veins that are just beneath the skin or what is called superficial which have become twisted and enlarged are classified as varicose veins. The most predominant area for this type of vein to be found is in the legs although the same type of vein in other parts of the body are known as hemorrhoids in the anal area, esophageal varices in the esophagus and varicocele in the scrotum area. In the human body the cusps of the valves will close to prevent a back flow of blood in a normal vein. With a varicose vein the cusps are unable to close due to the abnormal widening of the vein enabling blood to flow in the wrong direction. Although the reason for this condition is unknown it is believed to be caused by a weakness in the walls of the superficial veins. This weakness is thought to be inherited and over time it will cause the veins to loose their elasticity. This, in turn, causes the vein to stretch becoming longer and wider. In order for the vein to fit into the space it has occupied it becomes tortuous which gives it a snake like appearance and causing a bulge in the skin that covers them.

As the vein widens the valve cusps separate causing the veins to fill rapidly with blood when the person who is affected stands. This causes the vein to become even more enlarged and affect some of the connecting veins which will normally only allow blood to flow from the superficial veins to the deep veins. When the valves in the connecting veins malfunction this causes blood to squirt backwards into the superficial veins each time the muscles squeeze the deep veins. This can cause the superficial veins to enlarge even more. There are several factors that are thought to contribute to varicose veins including hormonal changes during pregnancy, obesity, hormonal changes during menopause, pressure on pelvic veins caused by pregnancy, standing for long periods, thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis. This is a very common condition with around fifteen percent of adults in the United States being affected. Even though this disorder tends to run in families where women are more often affected than men, it has not been proven to be hereditary.

The symptoms of varicose veins include blue, protruding, swollen or kinked veins that most commonly appear on the back of the calf and in any location on the inside of the leg. Some people will experience a severe ache in the affected area, swelling of the feet, swelling of the ankles and persistent itching of the skin on or around the affected area. The symptoms will progress throughout the day and the only relief is found by sitting with the legs elevated. In cases where the back flow of blood is severe, it is not uncommon for the skin to become dry, scaly, hard, thin or discolored due to the tissues becoming starved for oxygen and nourishment. In some cases ulcers may form in the affected area. When this occurs the sores should be cleaned and dressed, then the feet should be elevated to allow the return of blood to the heart.

Treatment for varicose veins in the legs will include wearing elastic support stockings, sitting with the feet up, a regular walking regiment and standing as little as possible. More severe cases may include a process where an irritant solution is injected into the vein causing scarring an blockage that forces healthier veins to take over the work of the swollen vein.

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