Varicose veins are recognized as the blue, enlarged veins seen near the surface of the skin. These superficial veins work with deeper veins in aiding blood flow. Blood normally moves from the superficial to the deep veins with a series of valves to keep the flow going in one direction. But when the valves weaken, the blood flow reverses, moving back to the superficial veins. With time, pressure on the superficial veins increases and they engorge with blood.
Varicose veins can be painful and can make legs feel swollen, achy, itchy, or heavy. Legs also may tire easily or get cramps or sores. Left untreated, varicose veins can result in chronic swelling and leg ulcers.
Varicose Veins Treatment
- Endoluminal vein surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which your vascular surgeon inserts a needle into the affected vein and closes the weak area using high frequency doses of light.
- In a mini-incisional varicectomy, all the prominent varicosities are removed through several tiny (2.0-mm) incisions. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and intravenous sedation on an outpatient basis. Patients can usually resume normal activities within 3-6 days depending on the extent of their varicose vein problem.
Risk and Prevention
Varicose veins generally run in the family. Pregnancy and weight gain also can lead to this problem. But there are ways to prevent varicose veins or to relieve the pressure. If you suffer from or are worried about varicose veins, try these tips:
- Change positions often when standing or sitting.
- Keep legs propped up while sitting and don't cross your legs.
- Sleep with the foot of the bed elevated, with your feet higher than your head.
- Avoid high heels and clothes that are tight around the waist and hips.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Stretch your calves by going up on your toes.
- Wear support stockings or pantyhose.
- Exercise regularly. Walking is especially good.
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital works in coordination with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute's vascular surgery program, the largest, most experienced diagnostic and treatment center for vascular problems in the metropolitan area. Learn more.
Free Vascular Screenings
In coordination with Dare to Care, MedStar Health hosts on-going vascular screenings at the MedStar Medical Group at Charlotte Hall office every other Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. To learn more, call 410-573-9483 ext. 202.