You may remember seeing blue, snake-like markings on your mother’s or your grandmother’s legs. You may now be seeing those same markings on your own legs. Varicose veins are not that unusual as, according to the National Institutes of Health, about half of people over 50 years old have them. Varicose veins haven’t changed that much. What has changed is how they’re treated. Treatment is less invasive and quicker now. Visit a dermatologist in Chula Vista, CA, for treatment.
Varicose veins are blue, knobby, and enlarged veins that most commonly appear in your legs and feet. Although they can be a bit unsightly, they usually aren’t dangerous. They affect the veins near the surface of the skin, not your working venous system which runs deeper under the skin. Spider veins, a mild form of varicose veins, are no more than a cosmetic concern. However, in some cases, varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort and lead to serious problems.
The causes of varicose veins vary:
- A genetic tendency that makes your vein valves weak
- Taking estrogen, progesterone, or birth control bills
- Prolonged standing
Varicose veins are more common in women, but they also occur in men.
To diagnose varicose veins, a doctor will perform a physical exam. The doctor will ask you to stand, so he or she can check for swelling. In your mother’s or grandmother’s day, the doctor would use a Doppler device to listen to your blood flow to determine which vein was affected. Now, your doctor will use duplex ultrasound to determine if the valves in your veins are working properly or if there is a blood clot.
Your mother or grandmother may have undergone a surgical procedure known as vein stripping to treat varicose veins. A rod is inserted to “strip” the vein. The pain from the procedure lasts as long as two weeks. Stripping the vein is rarely used today.
Lasers are now used to send concentrated light into the vein, causing it to collapse. An even newer procedure involves injecting a type of foam into the affected vein, causing the walls of the vein to swell, stick together, and block off the vein. Visit a dermatologist cosmetic surgeon and take advantage of the latest advancements. Some procedures take as little as 30 minutes, and you can resume your normal activities on the day of your treatment.
An older, but still used, technique is an ambulatory phlebectomy. Your doctor makes a series of tiny skin punctures and removes smaller varicose veins using a hook device. Only the parts of the leg that are pricked are numbed.
Varicose veins or spider veins can return. This is more likely if you have a genetic predisposition. You can repeat a procedure to get rid of your varicose veins.
There are things you can do to prevent varicose veins. You can exercise more, lose weight, and not wear tight clothes. Wear compression stockings. You can elevate your legs when you’re resting. This is especially helpful if you’re pregnant. Avoid standing for long periods. Don’t cross your legs when sitting. If you’re on a long plane flight, get up and walk around every hour. If you’re working at a computer, take breaks and walk around.
If you have varicose veins, make an appointment with Academic & Aesthetic Dermatology Consultants for quick and effective treatment using the most up-to-date procedures.