Varicose Veins: Risk Factors and Treatment Methods
Varicose veins are a common health problem in the United States as they affect millions of men and women, accounting for approximately 23% of the adult population. These are superficial veins that appear closely on your skin’s surface, especially on your legs. For some people, varicose veins may be a cosmetic concern and a source of pain and discomfort to others. Either way, Alexandria vascular services are necessary for both groups of people to prevent the risk of complications, including blood clots, ulcers, and bleeding. Varicose veins develop when the valves weaken or become damaged, allowing blood to flow back and accumulate in the veins.
Symptoms for varicose veins
Some people with varicose veins only have the signs without the symptoms. However, most people with symptoms experience:
- Heavy and achy legs
- Pain that worsens after extended hours of sitting or standing
- Swelling and muscle cramping in your lower legs.
- Itching on the affected area.
- Skin discoloration.
Who is at risk for varicose veins?
The chances of developing varicose veins increase as you advance in age. This is because the valves in your veins naturally become brittle as a result of wear and tear. This gradually damages the valves, which prevents them from hindering blood backflow. As a result, blood pools up in the veins, causing swelling.
Varicose veins are a common condition in women compared to men due to the hormonal changes that occur in women. The hormones produced during pregnancy, before periods, or menopause can cause the vein walls to relax, increasing your risk of varicose veins. Other treatments such as birth control pills also put women at risk for varicose veins.
What is the treatment for varicose veins?
Varicose veins can be managed at home with certain lifestyle changes or at the hospital with minimally invasive procedures, including sclerotherapy and laser treatment. Here is how you can improve the symptoms of varicose veins at home.
Lose extra pounds
As obesity is among the risk factors for varicose veins, losing extra pounds may help reduce symptoms such as swelling and muscle cramping. Excess weight in your body increases pressure and causes the veins in your legs to strain. This may, in turn, damage the valves, resulting in varicose veins. You can lose excess weight and maintain a healthy body mass index by engaging in regular physical exercise and eating healthy foods such as whole grains and leafy vegetables.
Engage in physical exercise
Exercising facilitates better blood transportation and is always a healthy way to keep you active. Physical activities may range from low-impact exercises to vigorous practices. It is best to work with your physical therapist to determine the type of exercise suitable for you. A specialist may also formulate a routine for you with exercises evenly spread out throughout the week. Besides facilitating blood transport, physical activity can also help you lose excess weight. Examples of exercises include walking, cycling, and swimming.
Most people with varicose veins experience relief with self-care practices such as exercise and diet. However, this may not be effective for patients with severe varicose veins. If your symptoms fail to improve after trying out home remedies, reserve a session with your doctor at Louisiana Cardiovascular and Thoracic Institute for advanced treatment to improve your general health.