The varices , also called chronic venous insufficiency or varicose veins are dilations that form in the veins and delay or hinder the arrival of blood to the heart. These dilations occur due to the presence of weak or injured valves in the veins. As a consequence of these dilations, an abnormal accumulation of blood takes place, causing the affected parts to acquire a purple or bluish color.
Varicose veins are up to five times more common in women than in men, especially from the age of fifty, and it is more common to suffer them in the veins of the legs, although they are also common in the esophagus, the anal region or the testicles.
Why do they occur?
The main function of veins in the body is to return blood to the heart. In the case of the legs, the flow of blood through the veins is done against gravity. These veins have valves that act in only one direction, opening to allow blood to pass through and closing to prevent it from returning. When these valves are weakened or injured, blood backs up and pools within the veins, which swell from the pool of blood.
This weakness in the valves can be caused, in turn, by weakness in the walls of the veins. In a normal state, the walls of the veins have a great elasticity, however, when they weaken they lose this elasticity and they lengthen and widen. Due to this, the leaves that form the valves separate and stop fulfilling their function.
Under these conditions, blood is returned through these valves and accumulates in the veins, expanding their walls even more. In this way, the veins are enlarged and, sometimes, they bend to fit in the space that would correspond to them. Thus, varicose veins are formed, and the affected area acquires a purple hue.
Causes of varicose veins
Among the causes of varicose veins we can find:
- Congenitally defective valves: valves that do not work properly and do not fulfill their functions.
- Thrombophlebitis: It occurs due to the formation of thrombi or clots that impede circulation and that can occur after long periods of bed rest.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy the inferior vena cava can become inflamed and put pressure on the veins in the legs. Also, the blood flow increases and they exert greater pressure. These varicose veins usually disappear after delivery.
Symptoms of varicose veins
The main symptoms include:
- Large veins that can be seen externally under the skin.
- Swelling in ankles and feet.
- Leg discomfort including itching, cramping, or pain.
- Purple or bluish coloration in the area of the affection.
Consequences of varicose veins
The appearance of varicose veins can lead to other problems such as:
- Dermatitis that can cause bleeding and ulcers or sores due to skin irritation.
- Formation of superficial thrombophelebitis due to thrombi or clots in the veins.
- Telangiectasias due to the formation of red cluster veins that can be seen externally under the skin.
- Spider veins due to the formation of red or blue veins, especially on the legs and face.
- Varicose veins can indicate the existence of more serious diseases.
Treatment for varicose veins
There are treatments for existing varicose veins, but they do not prevent the formation of new varicose veins. These treatments can be pharmacological or surgical, depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Used to avoid the symptoms of varicose veins or to prevent them from getting worse. They consist of the application of certain medications to strengthen the venous walls, prevent the formation of clots, reduce pain, reduce inflammation or treat infection.
- Traditional methods: It consists of a surgical removal of the affected veins. This type of intervention can lead to a series of postoperative complications or the possible appearance of new varicose veins.
- Microsurgery: Removal of the affected veins with the fewest possible incisions. It offers better results than the traditional method.
- Sclerotherapy: It consists of closing the veins by themselves, causing irritation and that they can reopen.
- Laser: It consists of eliminating the red and closed blood cells from the veins. It offers good results.
Prevention of varicose veins
It is possible to delay the formation of new varicose veins through habits such as:
- Avoid sitting or standing for a long time.
- While sitting, avoid crossing your legs or keeping them elevated.
- Perform physical activity that improves muscle tone and blood circulation.
- Try to lose weight, in case of obesity.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing as it can make varicose veins worse.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time.
- Wear compression stockings, always under medical recommendation, as they put pressure on the legs.
Above all, it must be borne in mind that prevention and consultation with specialists are basic issues if you want to avoid this problem or prevent it from worsening.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.