Varicose veins are swollen, dark blue or purple blood vessels you can see and feel beneath the skin. They often look like twisted cords, and usually appear on the calves, inside of the legs and ankles. Varicose veins form when the valves within a vein weaken and allow blood to flow backward. The vein weakens under the additional strain and balloons outward, raising the skin’s surface.
Patients with varicose veins may develop aching, throbbing, cramping and other symptoms that indicate a need for medical attention. Even for those whose veins are not of medical concern, many patients do not like the appearance of these veins and seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
Varicose veins are typically diagnosed through a physical examination of the affected area. Treatment options typically begin with conservative methods, such as losing weight, keeping the legs elevated whenever possible, and wearing compression stockings. Varicose veins that remain unresponsive to the aforementioned methods may require more advance forms of treatment.
Sclerotherapy treats varicose veins by injecting a solution into the veins, causing them to collapse and gradually disappear. The first results are often achieved within four treatment sessions, although this may vary per individual case. Endovenuos laser therapy or EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins by applying a laser probe to the affected area. Your doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual condition.
There is no definite way to prevent varicose veins from developing; however, there are certain measures that can be taken to reduce your risk of developing this condition. This may include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a diet high in fiber and low in salt
- Elevating the legs
- Sitting or standing up at regular intervals