Are your veins becoming larger? Or they get swollen all the time? This enlargement or pain of the veins also disturbs your sleeping pattern. But you are confused about why your legs’ veins become larger or swollen and the reason of your continuous discomfort. No worries this content provides you complete guidance about the enlargement or swelling of veins that are known as varicose veins. Varicose veins is the medical term that is occurring due to many reasons and it can be easily treated by the help of some prevention or cure. Even though further treatment is also introduced for relieving the pain and preventing new varicose veins formation.
Varicose veins are the veins that are large and become swollen and usually appear on feet and legs. The veins become swollen when valves that are present in veins are not working appropriately and because of this reason, blood doesn’t flow properly. Often the walls of the veins lose their elasticity and become stretched, as a result these walls become weak. Once the valves are not working effectively, blood collects in veins and makes the veins enlarged in size and become swollen.
There are various options available for the treatment of varicose veins including home remedies. But in severe condition, varicose veins rupture or develop ulcers.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In most of the cases, no pain occur but the most common signs and symptoms of varicose veins are:
- Veins become dark purple or blue in color
- Veins become swollen, enlarged, and bulging (lumpy)
- Legs feel too heavy especially at night and after the exercise
- Ankles become swollen
- Aching or pain in legs
- Minor injuries can result in more bleeding than normal in the affected area of varicose veins
- Lipodermatosclerosis (skin is shrinking because fats are gathered under the skin above the side of the ankle and becomes harder)
- Telangiectasia (referred to as spider veins in the affected area)
- Venous Eczema (the affected area of the skin becomes itchy, red, and dry)
- Most of the people often face restless leg syndrome
- Legs cramps
Varicose veins are also caused by damaged valves. The main function of the arteries is to carry blood from the heart to the rest of your tissues, and the function of the veins is to return blood in all parts of the body to your heart, so the blood can be re-circulated effectively.
What is the etiology of varicose veins forming?
The arteries have elastic tissues or thick layers of muscles for circulating the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to all over parts of the body, then this blood returns back to the heart. Veins have a network of one-way valves that surrounds the muscle. The cup-like valves are open to allow the flow of blood, then they close for the prevention of backward flow because the blood flows through the vein.
But in varicose veins, these valves are not working properly and do not perform their function effectively. These valves complicate the muscles to push the blood and pool it in the vein continuously, in spite of flowing blood from one valve to the next. These continuous pooling increases the venous pressure and makes the vein twisted, bulging, or swollen. The superficial veins become enlarged or swollen because they have less support of muscles as compared to deep veins and make varicose. The condition that leads to extra pressure on the abdomen or legs easily makes varicose because the valves or muscles are out of function and continually pooling the blood.
What are the preventions of varicose veins?
Varicosity is developing due to a number of causes and a variety of risk factors are involved to form new varicose or make the varicose veins worse. But the main query is how you can we prevent the varicose veins or how you prevent them from worsening or becoming severe. Hopefully, there are some preventions that help to enhance the flow of blood in legs or feet. For preventing varicose veins from getting worse or severe, you should follow some simple steps or try a few feasible things by changing your lifestyle and live healthier. These are a few simple tips that you must follow:
1. Lose Weight
Overweight causes many problems and develops several diseases or conditions that are harming your body or your health. Being overweight gives more stress to your legs. If you are overweight, you should lose your weight to prevent varicose veins or keep newly varicose veins from forming. Losing weight not only prevents varicose veins, even though it also decreases the risk of type2 diabetes, and heart diseases.
2. Avoid long term standing or sitting
Nowadays office workers or employers stand for a long time period and are at higher risk of developing varicose veins and making it worse. The office workers or employees should take half an hour break for standing or walking. If your job requires a long time sitting or standing, you should try moving your body for a short time period to regulate the flow and move towards the heart.
If you take a short break or move, then you reduce venous pressure that helps for circulation of the blood. If you are in your office or you have a desk, you can try some exercises to prevent varicose veins. You can:
- Peddle your feet
- Stretch your ankles
- Bend your knees for giving relaxation to your legs
Additionally, you can also elevate the legs above the heart regularly at least 3-5 times (10-15 minutes) that helps to break the circle of gravity and as a result circulation of the blood improves and swelling of veins is reduced.
3. Exercise Regularly
As you know, muscles of the legs are the biggest allies that help to push back the blood towards the heart. Exercise proves useful to prevent varicose veins. You should exercise regularly to prevent new varicose veins.
Walking is a beneficial exercise for preventing varicose veins. Yoga is another option that helps to stretch the deepest muscles and reduce the swelling, pain, and enlargement of veins. Downward-facing Dog Pose is the pose that tones and stretches the muscles and decreases the risk of new varicose veins. While swimming and cycling are also beneficial for preventing viscosity.
4. Put Your Feet up
If you are sitting or standing for longer period, then you can place your feet on any stool or chair straight, if possible. By doing this the blood is able to return back towards the heart. Putting your legs up helps reduce the cramps or pain, and prevents varicose veins.
5. Do not wear Fit clothes
By wearing tight or fitted jeans or tights, you put more pressure on legs that worsen the varicose veins. You should avoid wearing fitted clothes to prevent varicose veins.
6. Invest in compression hosiery
The socks or stockings that are compressed helps your veins to keep it in the right position and work properly by reducing the swelling, continuously pooling of the blood and pain. There are several types of compression of hose levels that depend on damage and worsen the condition of the veins. It’s better if you consult your physician for choosing the compression options (such as mild, moderate, firm, and extra firm).
7. Live a healthy lifestyle
By adapting a better lifestyle, you can easily prevent varicosity or form new varicose veins. As you know there are a number of factors that are developing varicosity such as overweight is one of the main aggravating factors. By eating a healthy diet, avoid the foods that increase your weight, intake sufficient amounts of vitamins, proteins you can prevent varicose veins. You should avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates, salt, high fibers, and potassium.
8. Sleeping Position
During pregnancy, sleeping position matters and pregnancy is one of the factors that cause varicose veins. Sleeping at the left side helps to prevent varicosity and also reduces the symptoms of varicose veins. The left side sleeping position helps the woman to reduce the pressure of the uterus at the time of expansion.
What types of Exercise prevents Varicose Veins?
Most people do not know about the relationship between exercise and varicose veins. As mentioned above, actually there is no proper prevention except changing lifestyle or doing physical exercises to reduce the new varicose veins formation. Exercise is the main prevention for reducing the risk factor of varicose veins because it helps to circulate the blood all over the body and return back to the heart.
With the help of exercise, you are active and that helps to maintain the weight of your body. If you experience varicose veins and visit your doctor, then mostly he recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes per day. Now the main query is what type of exercise you need to do to prevent varicose vein. There are a few simple exercises mentioned which help you prevent the formation of new varicose veins. These are:
Cycling is considered as a low-impact exercise and is included in an aerobic activity that helps your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to work very effectively. Bicycling also helps to enhance the circulation of the blood and protect the joints. By doing this exercise regularly, you can strengthen your muscles and promote the blood to regulate effectively.
If you don’t have a bicycle then no worries, you can also do the alternative of this. Firstly, lay down on the surface, then draw the knees towards the chest and start pedaling to prevent varicose vein formation.
Lunges are the exercise in which you stretch your legs and buttocks that mostly target the lower area of your body. This exercise helps you reduce fats and regulate the metabolism appropriately by giving shape to your body. Lunges also work with several muscles in your calves or feet and regulate the blood circulation in the correct direction.
First, you are standing in a good straight pose then bend your knee in the forward direction and make sure your knee bends directly just above the ankle and hold the lunge for 30 seconds and straight the legs in standing direction. Repeat doing this exercise for at least 5-6 minutes to prevent the formation of varicose veins.
Walking is the exercise for the prevention of all conditions because it helps to maintain your fitness. It proves beneficial for all ages or people. Daily walking helps the person to maintain fitness, optimize body weight, regulate blood pressure, and also provide strength to the muscles or bones. These benefits reduce the risk of varicose veins.
4. Lifting The Legs
Lifting your legs is the simple stretching that usually does not require any type of equipment. You just need to lay down straight on the surface then lift your right leg up and hold for 7-8 seconds. Now lift your left leg in the air and also hold it for a few seconds. Lifting legs helps your muscles for stretching and makes it flexible. It also circulates the flow of blood in every part of the body and prevents varicose veins.
5. Elevation of Legs
Raising legs in a straight direction is an effective exercise for the prevention of varicose veins formation. You just lie on your back on the floor or bed then raise your legs straight on the floor or the air. Hold this lying position for 2-3 minutes and lower your legs. Repeat this exercise regularly to get instant results.
What are the risk factors that increase the chances of varicose veins?
There are numerous risk factors that increase the chances of developing varicose veins and make it swollen or enlarged, these may include:
The factor that increases the risk of developing varicose veins is your genes – meaning any family member can develop this condition and it may be inherited from your parents due to genetic material.
If you are overweight, it means you are exerting extra pressure on your veins and your veins become swollen and work harder to send back the blood to the heart. Because of these harder working valves and veins, you are more prone to developing increased pressure since that can be a cause of leakage.
This risk factor of being overweight mostly appears in women.
Yes, gender also becomes a risk factor for developing varicose veins. According to researchers, it is suggested that women are more likely to get affected than men because hormones of women relax the walls of the veins that are becoming the cause of leakage.
Age is the main factor for developing any disease conditions because if you are getting older, you don’t have much stamina to bear all of the conditions very effectively. Same as varicose veins, if you are becoming older, your veins lose their elasticity and the valves of the veins do not work effectively, or either they stop working.
The number of blood increases in pregnancy to support the developing baby and the hormone level also becomes increased which puts extra strain on veins. Additionally, varicose veins also develop in the uterus (womb) and as the uterus is expanding, it exerts the pressure on the veins at the pelvic region that causes varicose veins.
The occupation or the job in which you are standing for a long term may increase the factor of developing varicose veins because when you are standing for a long time period so the blood does not easily flow in the body or return back to the heart.
The other rare conditions that increase the risk factor of developing varicose veins are:
- If the blood vessels are abnormal
- Any tumor growth or continuous swelling in the pelvis region
- Blood clotting
How to diagnose varicose veins?
The diagnosis of the varicose veins depends on the examination. Your doctor decided to visualize the veins and also ask about the symptoms or severity of pain. The diagnostic tests are also recommended to the patients for diagnosing varicosity. These are:
Doppler test – Doppler test is the ultrasound scan in which your doctor checks the direction of the flow of blood in veins. Doppler test also helps the doctor to evaluate any blood clotting or obstruction in the vein.
Color Duplex Ultrasound – Color duplex ultrasound provided colored images of the veins which help your doctor evaluate the structure of the veins. And their abnormalities. Duplex ultrasound also helps to measure the blood flow speed.
Are the treatments necessary to treat Varicose veins?
Varicose veins do not need any treatment all the time. It can be cured or treated with the help of prevention or doing regular exercise, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and losing weight. If the varicose veins are not showing any signs or symptoms and they didn’t give any pain or discomfort then there is no need for treatment. Whereas, if it becomes severe or gets ruptured then you should be concerned with your doctor and initiate your treatment according to your doctor’s instructions.
Most people have no pain or allergy but they treat these varicose veins due to cosmetic reasons. They are conscious about their beauty and they feel this vein makes them look ugly that’s why they want to treat this.
Treatment for varicose veins
If the patient experiences varicose veins without any symptoms or there are no signs of discomfort then they do not need the treatment, while the home remedies which are known as prevention of varicose veins are needed to resolve this varicosity. But on the other hand, if the patient is experiencing the pain, discomfort, or more signs and symptoms of varicose veins and they also realize that this varicosity is not only resolved by the help of prevention then they should need treatment.
Treatments used to cure varicose veins are:
If the varicose veins become severe and larger then it may need surgical removal. Mostly the patient gets discharged on the day of the surgery. but if the surgery is done in both legs then the patient needs to be hospitalized for at least one day. On the other hand, laser treatment is also given to the patients for closing the small veins which are known as spider veins.
Stripping and ligation
In this surgical process, two incisions are introduced – the first incision is introduced at the top of targeted varicose veins and other incisions are introduced at the downside of the legs. The top vein is sealed now, flexible wire is a thread at bottom of the vein and takes the vein with it.
The ligation procedure usually does not need any hospitalization but sometimes stripping or ligation makes bruises or initially start bleeding or the pain then your doctor increases your stay in the hospital. In rare cases, deep veins thrombosis also occurs. The patients need 3-4 weeks to recover.
In this surgical procedure, a small incision is required just below or above the knee. This incision is introduced by the help of ultrasound. The probe is inserted in the catheter that emits the energy. This energy provides heat to the vein and seals it very effectively. The radiofrequency ablation energy is introduced to treat large veins and is done with local anesthesia.
Sclerotherapy is the treatment that is provided to treat varicose veins in which chemical is injected in small varicose veins that helps to close them. Sometimes, the veins need injection more than once.
In endovenous laser treatment, the catheter is inserted in the varicose veins in which the veins are threaded by the help of the catheter at targeted veins. Then this laser treatment heats up the veins by delivering the energy and then seals it appropriately. The doctor burned or sealed the vein by using an ultrasound scan. This laser treatment is done with the help of local anesthesia.
Before you leave!
Varicose veins are the veins that become enlarged or swollen. Sometimes it appears with signs or symptoms of pain, discomfort, allergy, bruising, or many others. The condition of varicosity is not an almost danger. Rarely it becomes severe and may get ruptured. Varicose veins are easily treated with the help of the preventions that are mentioned above. You can prevent varicose veins by doing exercise regularly, optimize your body weight, follow healthy diet instructions, avoid long term standing or sitting, and wearing tight clothes that become the cause of varicose veins. If you notice that the varicose veins are not getting better or it becomes worse than you should be concerned with your doctor. Your doctor examines you and then also evaluates the veins that become swollen or enlarged then they recommend you either the treatment become necessary or not. If the varicose veins become worse than your doctor suggests you the surgery or laser treatment to correct the varicose veins and direction of blood flow.
A student of Respiratory Therapist from Dow university of health sciences. She trying to find scientific knowledge and theory to practical problems Related to respiratory care modalities including oxygen and aerosol therapy ,breathing problems and humidity And focusing cardiopulmonary diseases .just to help students to understand in easier way and for acknowledging common people.