Varicose veins are a prevalent disorder in India. Did you know that around 30% of the country's population is affected by it?
The bulging, twisted veins that often appear on different body parts, usually legs, are much more than a cosmetic concern. It is a vascular condition known as Varicose Veins that affects a significant part of India's population.
This disorder was first mentioned in the earliest medical documents, the Ebers papyrus, in 1550 B.C. The documents contained the herbal treatment knowledge of the physicians at the time. With a history dating back centuries, Varicose Veins have been a prevalent disorder. They cause discomfort and impact the daily life of the affected individuals. If left untreated, this disease can even lead to severe medical complications.
Even after being a prevalent disease, a large section of the country's population is unaware of it. So, what are varicose veins essentially? What are the Varicose Veins symptoms? Can the condition be treated? How can one protect themselves from it? If you want to get answers to all these questions and know more about this disease, continue reading below.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a medical condition in which the blood vessels get swollen and twisted under the skin's surface and bulge out. These bulges appear purple or blue and are usually seen on feet, legs, and ankles. These veins can be itchy, painful and cause discomfort. In some cases, Varicose veins are surrounded by Spider veins with smaller purple or red lines close to the skin's surface.
Despite being discomforting and unsightly, Varicose veins are not dangerous in most cases. But, some individuals might face more serious issues than others. Some people with serious cases of this disorder face severe health conditions like blood clots.
Varicose veins can be recognized from symptoms like bulging, swollen and twisted veins, itching around bulged veins, pain, swelling, ulcers, and skin discoloration. The less severe symptoms can be treated with Varicose vein home remedy. To relieve severe symptoms, one must consult a doctor for treatment.
Let us first understand what essentially causes these in the first place.
Causes of Varicose Veins
The weakening of the walls of your veins results in Varicose veins. Weakened vein walls allow veins to increase in size when the blood pressure in veins increases. The valves that ensure blood moves in one direction fail to work properly due to the stretching of veins. As a result, the sluggish blood pools in the veins and swells them up.
Several reasons, as listed below, can weaken the valves and walls of veins.
Long periods of standing cause pressure to develop inside the veins.
What is the treatment for Varicose veins?
To be completely honest with you, treatment for Varicose veins is not possible. But, the affected individuals can manage the symptoms. Reduce the discomfort caused and the bulged appearance with the following treatments:
One of the most trusted treatment options for this disorder is the Varicose veins stockings. These are supportive stockings or socks that reduce discomfort by compressing veins. The elastic stockings compress the veins to stop them from stretching and maintain blood flow.
People suffering from this disorder must elevate their legs above their waist several times daily. The elevation method decreases blood pressure and enhances blood flow.
Injection therapy (sclerotherapy)
Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a solution into the veins by a healthcare professional. The solution injected causes the walls of the veins to stick together, which turns the veins into scar tissue and fades away.
Varicose veins surgery is another treatment method for this disorder. The surgery involves ligation and stripping. During ligation, the surgeon ties off the affected veins, stopping the blood from pooling. After ligation, stripping is performed, which involves the removal of the affected vein to prevent the reappearance of Varicose veins.
The laser therapy used for this disorder is known as endovenous thermal ablation. It is a minimally invasive procedure done by a healthcare professional using a catheter and laser. The catheter and laser are used to close off the damaged vein.
How can one protect themselves?
Prevention of Varicose veins is not completely in your hands. However, you can take the below precautionary steps to live an active life and avoid developing this disorder. These steps must be especially followed by individuals who have this disease running in their genes.
- Leg elevation
Raising your legs above your waist several times throughout the day can prevent Varicose veins as elevation increases blood flow to the heart.
- Avoid continuously standing
Long periods of standing must be avoided to prevent Varicose veins. For this, one must take regular breaks from standing and stretch and walk around.
- Weight maintenance
Excessive weight must be reduced to decrease pressure inside blood vessels, reducing the chances of developing Varicose veins.
- Lead an active lifestyle.
Regularly exercise to enhance circulation and avoid sitting still for long periods.
- Wear proper-fitting clothes
Avoid wearing tight clothes to maintain a healthy blood flow throughout the body.
- Quit tobacco
Smoking causes many health issues. It also damages blood vessels and reduces blood flow. Hence, one must quit smoking to prevent Varicose veins.
Varicose veins are not a life-threatening disorder. But, it can become a severe condition that affects a person's daily life if left untreated. Thus, to manage this disorder, it is crucial to understand what it is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options available. I hope this blog gave you some clarity to begin with.
If you still find yourself struggling with this disease, do not delay seeing a doctor and know your treatment options to get relief from the discomfort caused by this disorder.
Until next time.
The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.