TREATING AND MANAGING VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose Veins is a condition where the valves that direct the blood flow in the veins are weakened or damaged, resulting in the decreased blood flow to the heart, and subsequent backing up of blood within the veins, leading to the enlargement of the veins.Varicose Veins become twisted, swollen, and cause pain that mostly affects the lower limbs.However, they can affect any part of the body. Varicose veins usually affect older people, and are most prevalent amongst women.
The treatment for Varicose Veins requires lifestyle modifications, and the use of certain medications.
The lifestyle changes include:
- Using compression socks or stockings
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Exercising regularly to improve blood circulation
- Avoiding standing for prolonged periods of time
- Elevating or raising the legs while sleeping
Diagnosis of Varicose Veins
Following a physical examination, the doctor may prescribe the following tests to diagnose Varicose
- Ultrasound : An Ultrasound test is a non-invasive test, which is performed to check the flow of the blood.
- Venogram : A Venogram involves releasing a special dye into the veins and then taking an X-ray, which provides an overview of the blood flow.
Surgical Treatment of Varicose Veins
Surgery is a choice of treatment, when lifestyle changes are not effective in managing the symptoms of Varicose Veins. Vein Ligation and Vein Stripping is the most common procedure adopted,that is performed by making incisions over the skin. Later, the surgeonmakesmore cuts over the Varicose Veins, and removes the affected part through the incisions.
The other surgical procedures performed to treat Varicose Veins include:
- Sclerotherapy, wherein a chemical foam or liquid is injected into the vein that blocks the larger vein.
- Microsclerotherapy, wherein a chemical foam or liquid is injected into the block of the smaller veins.
- Laser therapy, in which Light Frequency Radiation is used to unblock the blocked vein.
- Endovenous Ablation Therapy, in which Radiofrequency or Heat Radiation is used to block off the vein.
- Endoscopic Vein Surgery, in which a small lighted scope is inserted into the vein to block the vein, through a small incision
Before the procedure
- The doctor should be informed about the severity of pain and numbness felt in the affected region.
- Ask the doctor what procedure would be best for your particular case.
- Ask your doctor about the possible outcomes in the treatment of Varicose Veins.
- Stop taking aspirin or other blood thinning agents at least one week before the surgery.
- Inform the doctor about any pre-existing medical condition,or medications you are taking
After the procedure
You may experience pain, swelling, bruising and change in the color of the treated area. Individuals treated for Vein Ligation and Stripping may experience severe pain, infection, scarring and blood clots after the procedure. Seek immediate medical attention/care if the condition worsens.
The use of compression stockings all through the day squeezes the leg, thereby easing the blood flow through the veins and the muscles of the leg. Elevating the feet while sleepingensures a free back flow of the blood to the heart, thereby helping in the long-term management of Varicose Veins.
Chances of recurrence
Individuals above fifty years of age are at an increased risk of recurrence of Varicose Veins within five years of having surgery. However, following the prescribed diet plan with regular exercise and lifestyle changes will delay the recurrence of the condition.
Diet and exercise plan
Following a low-salt diet helps to prevent swelling and water retention in the limbs. On discharge from the hospital, you may experience pain and soreness in the limbs. It is advised to restrict strenuous activities after the procedure, but prolonged inactivity may cause the formation of clots and pain.
Therefore, following a regular exercise plan, as suggested by your doctor, helps to regain normalcy in the limbs.
- Take Oral Anti-coagulants for 3 Months
- Grade 2 Elastic Leg Stockings have to be Worn For 3 Months after the procedure
- Weight reduction is of paramount importance
Warning signs that need immediate medical attention
Sometimes, Varicose Veins surgery could produce certain complications, such as:
- Blood clots
- Chronic inflammation
- Rupturing of veins