Curious about varicose veins and treatment options? Many people hate the appearance of their varicose veins. These unsightly veins also sometimes cause pain and swelling and can lead to ulcers or blood clots. Taking certain steps limits the risk of developing varicose veins, and many treatment options exist as well.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being obese increases the amount of pressure on your leg veins, which makes varicose veins more likely, especially in those with other risk factors. Some pregnant women develop varicose veins because of the additional weight gained due to pregnancy.
Get Some Exercise
As with many health conditions, exercise helps prevent varicose veins because it improves circulation. For people who sit a lot for their job, getting up and walking around every half hour can help, and for people who have to stand all day, taking a seat for a few minutes every half hour helps limit pressure on the veins that could cause problems.
Wear the Right Clothes
In general, tight clothes limit circulation and increase the risk of issues with circulation. However, people who have experienced spider or varicose veins may want to wear compression stockings to limit the risk of a recurrence. These stockings help increase blood flow from the legs back up to your heart. Wear flats instead of heels.
Elevate the Legs
When sitting, elevate your legs to increase circulation. Don’t cross your legs, as this can have the opposite effect. If lying down, aim to keep the legs at heart level or higher for the best results.
As many people know, getting too much sodium can increase blood pressure, which increases the risk of varicose veins. Limit sodium, increase potassium consumption and try to consume more flavonoids from foods like cocoa, garlic, fruits, and vegetables.
Get Tested If Experiencing Symptoms
Visible twisted and swollen veins merit testing to see if treatment is necessary. Other signs of varicose veins include a heavy feeling in the legs, swelling, muscles cramping at night, or a burning feeling in the legs. Testing may include the use of duplex ultrasound or a blood pressure cuff to investigate blood flow and volume.
Consider Sclerotherapy for Smaller Varicose Veins
When treating smaller varicose veins or spider veins, doctors inject a chemical into the vein that irritates it and causes the sides to stick together. Sclerotherapy results can take as long as 3 to 4 months and multiple treatments for the vein to no longer be visible and swollen.
Laser Therapy Provides Another Alternative
Doctors also sometimes use laser therapy to resolve smaller varicose veins. As with sclerotherapy, laser therapy may require multiple treatments and full results may take up to three months. Lasers cause some discomfort but cause the vein to collapse.
Heat Can Be Used Instead of Lasers
A treatment called radiofrequency ablation involves using local anesthesia, inserting a catheter into the vein and then using radio waves to heat the vein and make it collapse and seal itself closed so blood no longer enters. You need to wear compression stockings for a couple of weeks, and full results could take up to a year.
Doctors May Recommend Ambulatory Phlebectomy for Larger Veins
During this procedure, the doctor makes a small slit and uses a device that looks similar to a crochet hook to remove the varicose vein. Ambulatory phlebectomy provides faster results than many of the other varicose vein treatments, which require waiting for the body to reabsorb the treated vein.
The doctors at The Vein Center can answer any questions you may have about varicose veins or spider veins.