Veins are blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood away from the body, back to the heart and lungs. Varicose veins are veins in which the valves have significantly weakened allowing blood to flow backwards and pool to create the engorged red to blue “cords” that you may have found on your body.
Causes of Varicose Veins
To prevent backwards blood flow, veins use one-way valves that can be compromised as veins become stretched or more elastic. Factors that can lead to elasticity include:
Age: Veins become more elastic as you grow older which causes weakness in the valves. Varicose veins can form in young adults, especially with pregnancy, but the risk is much higher after age fifty.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body and redirects blood flow away from your pelvis. Collectively these changes can increase the pressure in your leg veins.
Excess Weight: Being overweight adds pressure and stretches the walls of your veins.
Extended Standing or Sitting: Movement encourages the circulation of blood so the lack thereof can lead to varicose veins or other vein disease symptoms.
Genetics: If you have a family history of varicose veins, there is a higher likelihood of you developing varicose veins.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
Treatment has evolved with the advent of minimally invasive vein treatment methods including sclerotherapy, endovenous laser treatment, and ambulatory phlembectomy. Each takes about an hour and the patient is able to walk immediately after.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is a considered the gold standard for treating vein disease. A thin optic fiber is used to seal off the damaged vein.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy uses specialized tools to remove the vein through a small puncture in the skin.
Sclerotherapy injections use special solutions to collapase and dissolve smaller varicose veins and spider veins, but the procedure is virtually painless.
The symptoms of varicose veins are usually aesthetic though in some cases, you may experience more severe symptoms such as aching, heaviness, or bleeding. Because minimally invasive techniques have a short recovery time and patients are able to walk immediately after, many people opt to have their varicose veins treated simply for healthy-looking legs or just to be safe and avoid worse symptoms.
If you are wondering whether you have varicose veins or whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive vein treatment, schedule a FREE vein consult at one of our two vein clinics in the city of Chicago, IL or at our vein clinic in Elgin, IL. Our vein specialist, Dr. Salvador Yunez, is happy to answer your questions and discuss the best treatment for you.