You may notice the first signs of varicose veins before you even feel any discomfort. Where once the veins in your legs were barely noticeable, they’ve begun to take on a darker and more twisted appearance. They may even have become slightly raised. Untreated, varicose veins can lead to blood clots and ulcers. Without sufficient blood flow to the affected area, you’re also more prone to infection from a simple injury. Varicose veins eventually become larger bulges that can cause severe pain and even affect your mobility. Talk to your internist at Century Medical and Dental Center about arranging a consultation with a Brooklyn vein doctor for relief from unsightly, uncomfortable varicose veins.
Varicose veins happen when blood vessels below the skin are damaged or have weak walls and valves. They appear through your skin as blue or purple twisted lines. They sometimes look like bulging cords and can cause considerable discomfort. The most common areas afflicted are your legs.
Varicose veins can also exist as hemorrhoids or in the stomach, esophagus or liver. For some people, the veins burn, itch or cause pain. Others are affected with aches and pains in the joints, knees or legs. The discomfort usually is exacerbated by extended periods of sitting or standing.
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
Not all varicose veins are cause for concern, however. Some don’t cause any pain or long-term damage. Still, the skin discoloration can be embarrassing. So treatment for varicose veins may be for cosmetic reasons or for medical reasons.
Either way, the necessary steps to treat varicose veins have a minimal impact on your life. And at Century Medical and Dental Center, your vein specialist is part of a multi-disciplinary team that’s available to confer on other conditions and even treat other aesthetic issues.
Causes of Varicose Veins
The veins in your legs pump blood back up to your heart. The immediate cause of a varicose vein is that a particular blood vessel is too weak to pump all the blood back to your heart effectively. Weakness can lead blood to flow back down the vein into your leg where it settles and bulges. Slow blood flow causes the pain and discoloration of varicose veins.
What causes varicose veins is not uniform. Tumors, being overweight or obese, constipation and pregnancy can all lead to conditions ripe for developing varicose veins. A family history of varicose veins adds to your risk. Families that have experienced deep vein thrombosis are also at a higher risk for varicose veins. Women are more likely than men to develop the condition. Standing, sitting or rarely changing positions for long periods of time increase the risk of getting varicose veins.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A diagnosis of varicose veins is necessary because the condition can be an indicator of a greater medical concern. For example, varicose veins can be a sign of a tumor or a blood clot. The condition and location of the unsightly veins often helps to determine if other conditions are present. A varicose vein diagnosis involves a non-invasive examination with your Brooklyn vein specialist, who often can tell just by looking and lightly touching the area what’s causing the bulge. An ultrasound detects blood clots or other abnormalities.
Varicose veins treatment begins with the least invasive procedures that may include:
- Wearing compression stockings to reduce pain and swelling
- Losing weight to take pressure off the veins
- Doing targeted exercises developed by a Brooklyn physical therapist
- Adopting lifestyle or workplace practices to include changing sitting and standing positions regularly
- Elevating your leg for part of each day
Varicose Vein Removal Treatments
You may need more aggressive treatment if the more conservative treatments failed to provide lasting results. Your Brooklyn doctor has options. Sclerotherapy for varicose veins is a vein removal procedure. Your vein doctor uses an injection of foam or other solution that causes the veins to fade from sight. Sclerotherapy is best used for small and medium-sized varicose veins. Other vein removal treatments include:
- Laser therapy relies on short bursts of light directed into the vein. No needles or injections are required. Lasers work best on very small veins, often called spider veins.
- Vein stripping requires your doctor to make a small incision and tie off an offending vein. The vein is then removed.
- An ambulatory phlebectomy is performed with small punctures through which the vein is removed.
- Endoscopic vein surgery is reserved for more advanced cases in which an ulcer also is present. This is a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure.
Scarring is minimal for all types of varicose vein treatment. Healing and recovery times are not lengthy or arduous. And you notice a drastic reduction in vein swelling, leading to less obvious veins within a few weeks of surgery. For more information and to make an appointment with Brooklyn’s general physician contact Century Medical and Dental Center today.