Varicose veins—the dreaded bluish-purple, twisted, bulging veins that typically appear on the legs and ankles. Beyond being a cosmetic nuisance, varicose veins can cause burning or throbbing sensation, swelling, and muscle cramping; itchiness; and worsening pain in the lower legs after prolonged standing.
While varicose veins are mostly innocuous, there are cases when they can lead to serious health problems when left untreated. One such problem is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition characterized by the formation of blood clots in deep veins in the legs and other areas of the body. These clots can break off and travel to major body organs, such as the lungs.
Learn more about varicose veins by exploring their cause, risk factors, prevention, and the various treatment methods available for them.
Causes and Risk Factors
Varicose veins develop due to increased blood pressure in the veins, as it weakens and damages them, rendering them unable to properly work against gravity. As a result, blood can flow backward and accumulate in the veins, causing them to stretch or twist.
Studies suggest that genetics, obesity, pregnancy, and sitting or standing for long periods of time all increase a person’s risk for varicose veins. Varicose veins are also prevalent among women, people who smoke, and those over the age of 60.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins
Smoking cessation, engaging in regular physical activity, and keeping a healthy body weight can go a long way toward preventing the formation or lessening the severity of varicose veins. Also, it helps to elevate your legs periodically and to avoid tight-fitting clothes.
Treatment Options Available for Varicose Veins
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of varicose veins, your best bet is to see a vein doctor, who will do a thorough assessment to devise a suitable treatment plan. Your treatment could be any of the following:
- Home treatment– use of compression stocks along with taking supplements
- Laser treatment– This utilizes electromagnetic laser light radiation to heat the vein, causing it to collapse and shut off.
- Sclerotherapy- This involves your vein doctor injecting a vascular irritant (usually saline) into the vein to close it off and to shrink its size and appearance.
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation– This involves your vein doctor using an intravenous catheter to heat and collapse varicosity, effectively shutting it off.
If you have larger varicose veins, your vein doctor will likely recommend surgical vein stripping to tie off or remove the damaged portions of the vein and seal the ends to improve blood flow.
Varicose Veins Treatment in Tampa, FL
You don’t have to suffer from the discomfort, unattractive appearance and possible complications brought on by varicose veins. If you live in or around Tampa, turn to Dr. Edward Mackay, our board-certified vein specialist, for a highly effective solution.
To see Dr. Mackay, call our staff at (727) 349-5652, or request your appointment right here on our website. We look forward to serving you!