Varicose veins also known as bulging, swollen or malfunctioning blood vessels are a cosmetic ailment as well as a physical one. They are caused by valves in the blood vessels failing to function properly, allowing gravity to cause the blood to pool up along the vein.
The swollen blood vessels appear on the skin and are very unsightly. They are embarrassing for most people and sometimes the cause of pain or discomfort for others.
It’s important for someone facing this issue to know as much of the facts as they can. Let’s take a look at the top facts about varicose veins that you should know.
They should not be confused with spider veins
While often used interchangeably, the terms “varicose” and “spider” do not mean the same thing. While they are both unsightly blood vessels appearing on the skin, they are classed differently in terms of their severity.
Spider blood vessels are identified by red or purple veins that are visible but appear flat on the skin. Varicose veins are identified by being large, blue blood vessels that appear to be bulging and swollen.
The reason for the difference is that when the blood vessels are bulging they have the chance of being painful and require stronger treatment to remedy.
They aren’t essential to the body
While it sounds strange, the swollen blood vessels aren’t necessary for the functioning of the circulatory system. They are known as superficial veins whilst the deep veins are the big ones that do most of the work.
The superficial blood vessels are much closer to the surface of the skin and therefore become visible when they are faulty. The fact that they are not essential means that many types of treatment involve destroying them altogether.
Compression socks are your best friend
Compression socks, while a simple solution, are one of the best ways to treat bulging blood vessels. While the socks have traditionally been seen as heavy and ugly there are now many modern compression stocking options that appear far more discreet and are even stylish.
The socks work to keep the blood vessels compressed so that blood can no longer build up in them. They are best worn when sitting or standing for long periods where the blood flow in the legs is constant.
Compression socks are actually very popular with female surgeons who have to spend long hours standing in operating rooms.
There are many advanced treatments
Depending on how bad the problem is, there are several different treatments for varicose veins that are available from a professional varicose veins clinic like The Vein Institute. These procedures also vary in how much downtime can be expected afterwards.
A common treatment for mild forms of the condition is the injection of a saline solution. The mixture works to irritate the veins so that they shut down and are re-absorbed by the body.
The more serious the problem is the more injections will be required. There can be some stinging around the injection area shortly after the procedure and there will be some light bruising for about a week.
Those who don’t want to go with injections can use advanced laser treatments. These lasers effectively heat the blood vessel until it shrinks and collapses entirely.
Larger blood vessels will require a more invasive procedure. Modern approaches use an endovenous laser which works like a smaller laser treatment except it heats the blood vessel from the inside out.
The cost and downtime of the more advanced procedure is naturally more. This is why it’s recommended to seek treatment for varicose veins as early as reasonably possible.
However, it’s recommended that women who want to have children delay treatment until after childbirth. This is because pregnancy can cause swollen blood vessels and would undo any treatment done prior.