Varicose veins – the failed stunt in your legs

We have all seen these disaster films. You know, those with valve failures seem to be a big problem (at least those with overly complex machines that explode when they encounter a stubborn problem like “what is love?”). The pressure rises, the steam screams cracks in the machine and the valves cannot hold back the flow of destruction.

Did you know that there are valves in your veins too? They prevent backflow and keep your blood in the right direction: to the heart and lungs. Basically, it is these shutters that should only open in the direction in which the blood should flow. What is difficult is when your blood tries to move against gravity. Imagine a waterfall trying to go up and not down (except maybe a little less dramatically). Fortunately, the muscles in your legs advise the blood to return to your veins, but still the veins that carry your blood from your feet and legs to your heart have to fight gravity to the end, which means that they are more common valve problems than other veins in your body. And some people may have weaker valves than normal ones.

When your venous valves fail, blood flows through them and collects in the veins. This blocked blood can have larger and more deformed veins: varicose veins. (Spider veins are like varicose veins, but on a smaller scale.) The leg.

More than half of those over 50 have varicose veins. So if you are in this group, you are definitely not alone. However, there are certain risk factors for varicose vein development, including a family history of the disease, obesity, pregnancy, old age, sedentary lifestyle, hormonal changes (such as during puberty and menopause). , Exposure to the sun and the feminine. Varicose veins are generally not dangerous, although you may find them painful or embarrassing. Sometimes serious complications such as ulcers or blood clots survive. (If venous clots form deep in the leg, this is called deep venous thrombosis. If the clot moves through the lungs, it can be fatal.)

If you have varicose veins, you probably won’t start coughing up steam or blinking red lights and “Danger! Danger!” Instead (if the affected veins are close to the skin), you will likely find that the veins on your leg protrude, bulge, twist, or have the shape of a cord. Or you can find something under the skin that looks like raisins. Your legs can be sore, tired, or heavy. Varicose veins that are closer to your bones may not be as noticeable visually, but you may have chronic swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet, as well as pain, tiredness, and heaviness in the legs. Sometimes people with varicose veins develop an itchy rash on the leg. More serious cases can be discoloration of the skin and the development of an ulcer.

Your podiatrist can initially treat your varicose veins conservatively. He or she may suggest compression stockings to support your veins a little thundering. Compression stockings put pressure on the veins and promote blood flow to the heart. Supportive tights provide support, and over-the-counter and prescription compression stockings are also available.

Exercising, letting your legs sit, and losing weight can help relieve varicose veins problems. You should also avoid crossing your legs, wearing tight clothing, and standing for long periods of time.

If conservative treatments don’t improve your symptoms enough, treatments are available to treat the condition. For minimally invasive procedures, a catheter can be inserted into the vein and the vein can then be closed with heat or chemicals. (Your blood still flows through other veins, so don’t worry about the problem of vein occlusion.) Ultrasound can perform such procedures on veins deep under the skin. Varicose veins can also be treated with laser treatments on the surface of the skin. Now your doctor might think it’s best to have the varicose vein surgically removed.

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