About Venous Disease
What are varicose veins?
Unsightly and uncomfortable, varicose veins can promote swelling in the ankles and feet and itching of the skin. They may occur in almost any part of the leg but are most often seen in the back of the calf or on the inside of the leg between the groin and the ankle. Left untreated, patient symptoms are likely to worsen with some possibly leading to venous ulceration.
What causes varicose veins?
To prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, veins have numerous valves. If the valves fail (a cause of venous reflux), blood flows back into superficial veins and back down the leg. This results in veins enlarging and becoming varicose. The process is like blowing air into a balloon without letting the air flow out again- the balloon swells.
To succeed, treatment must stop this reverse flow at the highest site or sites of valve failure. In the legs, veins close to the surface of the skin drain into larger veins, such as the saphenous vein, which run up to the groin. Damaged valves in the saphenous vein are often the cause of reversed blood flow back down into the surface veins.
Why does it occur more in the legs?
Who is at risk for varicose veins?
What are the symptoms?
What are venous leg ulcers?
What is the short term treatment for varicose veins?
If there are inflamed areas or an infection, topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If ulcers develop, medication and dressings should be changed regularly.
There are also potentially longer-term treatment alternatives for visible varicose veins, such as sclerotherapy and phlebectomy.