Varicose veins is a condition of tortuous dilatation of the veins, mostly of the lower limbs. It not only gives an ungainly appearance but also causes much suffering to the affected person.
Veins bring impure blood back to the heart, from the entire body. Veins of the legs have to pump blood towards the heart against gravity. This becomes possible through contraction of the muscles of the leg and also through one way valves located in the walls of the veins which prevent back flow of blood.
As such varicosity of the veins can develop at any age but chances increase with advancing age. Women are more affected than men, because of the fragility of the walls of the veins.
The primary reason for varicose veins is weakness of the walls of the veins. Due to this, upward blood flow as desired does not occur smoothly. Result is pressure on walls of the veins due to which they become tortuous and clumsy in appearance.
In a small percentage of people, varicose veins may occur as a hereditary condition. If one or both parents or some blood relative has that condition, one may inherit it.
Standing for long time continuously is yet another risk factor causing varicose veins. Because when one stands for a long time, muscle contraction needed to propel blood upwards is absent.
Blood flow forwards becomes stagnant or sluggish and this puts a pressure on the walls of the veins weakening them. Thus soldiers, surgeons, shop keepers, teachers, all whose profession demands standing for long hours are more prone to develop varicose veins.
Obesity, pregnancy, e.t.c. conditions which put a stress on legs and its blood vessels also predispose to varicosity of the veins. Thrombophlebitis, i.e. inflammation of the veins which develops in bed ridden patients also predisposes to varicose veins. Wearing high heeled shoes is a big risk for development of varicose veins in middle age.
Once varicose veins develop, there is much pain, which may be severe burning in character similar to peripheral neuropathy. People like chronic smokers who have associated peripheral vascular disease tend to have more severe pain.
While walking or standing, their may be giddiness because of reduced venous return to the heart. Ulcers can form over the veins, due to stasis of circulation. Sluggish return of blood also predisposes to formation of clots, small pieces from which can pass through circulation and lodge in brain, heart or lungs, creating complications.
Apart from all this suffering, the visible dilated, kinky blue colored veins look bad cosmetically.
Therefore, many people avoid seeking any help for it, they tend to hide it as far as possible. But corrective measures taken at the earliest can help prevent the progress of the varicose process.
This is important because there is no cure by means of drugs in any kind of system of medicine for varicose veins. Corrective surgery is often done in severe cases but the condition tends to relapse if the causative factors persist.
Varicose veins are seen and recognized very easily clinically. Doppler test is used to ascertain the site of damage.
When standing for a long time, a person should try to move his feet or at least toes slightly intermittently, so that there is some movement of the leg muscles, thus preventing stasis of blood. While sitting down, it is good to keep legs stretched in front on a stool or table for some time.
Pregnant women should adopt this posture for sitting to avoid varicosity of the veins. Sitting with legs dangling for a long time continuously is not good, particularly for those suffering from varicose veins. Even a bed ridden patient should be encouraged to move their feet and legs to avoid venous thrombosis and varicose veins.
High heeled shoes are not healthy and can cause many health related problems including varicose veins and therefore should be avoided.
A person suffering from varicose veins should use elastic stockings or tie a crepe bandage on legs while standing or walking. The compression exerted by the stockings or bandage assists in upward flow of blood and also prevents augmentation of varicosity.
Light exercises of the legs done regularly are very useful in preventing progress of varicose veins.