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WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS, AND SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT THEM?

Varicose veins are most commonly found on the legs and feet. They are usually blue or purple and can be swollen. Varicose veins can cause a heavy, achy or uncomfortable feeling in the legs and make feet and ankles look puffy. Some people experience a burning or throbbing sensation, or a sensation of cramping in their legs. Veins can also itch and lead to skin dryness in the affected area.1

Some people find their symptoms are worse during hot weather, or if they have to stand for a long time. Exercise, or resting with the feet and legs elevated, can help to relieve symptoms.1

WHAT CAUSES VARICOSE VEINS?

They are caused when little valves inside the veins stop working properly. In a healthy vein, blood is pumped to the heart and the valves stop blood flowing backwards into the vein. If the valves become damaged, blood collects in the vein, causing it to bulge.1

WHO GETS VARICOSE VEINS?

As you get older, you are more likely to have varicose veins if you are female, you have a family member who has had them, you are overweight, you have had a job that involves standing for long periods of time, or you have been pregnant.1

ARE VARICOSE VEINS SERIOUS?

The valve damage that causes varicose veins can develop into a more serious condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Untreated, this can lead to ulcers (painful sores on the skin), which can limit mobility and have a negative impact on quality of life.2

CAN VARICOSE VEINS BE TREATED?

Yes they can. There are several ways to treat varicose veins. As well as exercising and raising the feet, the first line of treatment is generally compression stockings. However, if you they continue to be troublesome, varicose veins can be treated with:1, 3

  • Heat to seal the affected veins (using radiofrequency energy or a laser);
  • A special foam to close the veins;
  • Cyanoacrylate glue ablation procedure.

Alternatively, the affected veins can be removed.1

Read more on varicose veins and how they can be treated

Sources

1

NHS: Varicose veins. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Varicose-veins/ Accessed November 2020;

2

Venous Reflux Disease: What are Venous Leg Ulcers? Available at: https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/patients/conditions/venous-reflux-disease/venous-leg-ulcers.html Accessed November 2020;

3

Varicose veins: The condition, current treatments and procedure. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg670/chapter/2-The-condition-current-treatments-and-procedure Accessed November 2020.

DURING COVID-19, DO NOT IGNORE CHRONIC VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY (CVI) SYMPTOMS

IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS, ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT CVI SCREENING!

EARLIER TREATMENT LEADS TO BETTER OUTCOMES

A recent study showed that patients who received early vein closure treatment along with compression stocking therapy for venous leg ulcers experienced:
 
  • Significantly shorter time to healing;
  • Extended time free from ulcers.