Unveiling vital insights: your guide to understanding varicose veins
Varicose veins, those twisted and bulging veins beneath the skin’s surface, affect countless individuals, often causing discomfort and concern. In this informative blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of varicose veins and the underlying venous reflux disease. From understanding the causes to exploring symptoms and treatment options, let’s embark on a journey to vein health and relief.
Understanding Varicose Veins
Varicose veins, prominently visible on the skin’s surface, particularly in the legs, are swollen and twisted veins. While common, these veins can cause pain and aesthetic concerns, making proper understanding and treatment vital.
The Culprits: Causes of Varicose Veins
The root cause of varicose veins lies in leaky vein valves, which result in blood pooling within the veins. This pooling causes the veins to stretch and enlarge, leading to their characteristic appearance. Venous reflux disease, also known as venous stasis, venous insufficiency, or venous incompetence, is a common underlying condition contributing to varicose veins. This occurs when blood refluxes in the deep and/or superficial leg veins.
Dr. Nisha Bunke, leading our study published in the Journal of Vascular Ultrasound in 2018, examined over 1,000 legs with varicose veins. The study highlighted that a significant majority—over 90%—of varicose veins’ sources were the great and small saphenous veins. The Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) courses along the middle of the thigh and calf, while the small saphenous vein (SSV) travels along the back of the calf.
Varicose veins and venous reflux disease present an array of symptoms, including aching, tenderness, heaviness, fatigue, restlessness in the legs, burning and throbbing pain, itching, leg cramps (especially at night), ankle swelling, skin discoloration, and even skin ulcers above the ankle. Ignored over time, complications can emerge, such as painful inflammation of the veins (superficial phlebitis), blood clots within varicose veins (superficial thrombophlebitis), and skin issues like discoloration, eczema, or ulcers.
The Power of Ultrasound Diagnosis
A cornerstone of effective diagnosis, duplex ultrasound technology is used to evaluate veins beneath the skin’s surface. This technology not only detects leaky valves and blood flow direction but also identifies blockages or scars within veins, providing essential information for devising a tailored treatment plan.
Customized Treatment Approach
A comprehensive approach to treating varicose veins involves multiple steps:
Step 1: Treating the Underlying Issue
The foundation of treatment lies in addressing venous reflux. This involves targeting the saphenous veins—typically the origin of the issue. Innovative vein ablation procedures like radiofrequency ablation (RFA), laser ablation, mechanico-chemical ablation (MOCA), and Varithena Foam are employed to restore proper blood flow.
Step 2: Addressing Varicose Veins
Following successful treatment of underlying reflux, the focus shifts to varicose veins. Foam sclerotherapy, where a foamed medication is injected to cause scarring and eventual dissolution, and phlebectomy, involving tiny incisions to remove the veins, are common methods.
Varicose veins and venous reflux disease impact countless lives, causing discomfort and concern. By understanding their causes, recognizing symptoms, and exploring innovative treatments, individuals can take charge of their vein health. At La Jolla Vein & Vascular, we’re dedicated to providing personalized care and effective solutions to alleviate symptoms and enhance quality of life. If you’re ready to embark on the journey to healthier veins, contact us today and take the first step towards lasting relief and wellness.
“Bringing Experts Together for Unparalleled Vein and Vascular Care”
La Jolla Vein & Vascular (formerly La Jolla Vein Care) is committed to bringing experts together for unparalleled vein and vascular care.
Nisha Bunke, MD, Sarah Lucas, MD, and Amanda Steinberger, MD are specialists who combine their experience and expertise to offer world-class vascular care.
Our accredited center is also a nationally known teaching site and center of excellence.
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