Varicose veins are huge, swollen veins that usually appear on the legs and feet. The valves in the veins do not function properly and the flow of blood reduces. Varicose veins are blue, red, or flesh-coloured. They often look like cords and appear warped and bulging. They can form anywhere in the body, but they are most often located in the legs.
Varicose veins are inherited, and become more prominent as a person ages. Veins in the leg are either superficial or deep. The superficial veins and their branches are close to the skin. Generally, blood travels from the superficial veins to the deep veins. From there, the blood travels through a network of larger veins back to the heart.
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.
Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.
As you get older, your veins can lose flexibility, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward.
Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis.
. Changes in hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three to 12 months after delivery.
Every case of varicose veins is different. While some patients will see their symptoms worsen, others could be at risk of coming down with a range of more serious, potentially life-threatening conditions.
- If left untreated, varicose veins usually result in excess blood leaking into the tissues of the leg. The patient will experience painful swelling and inflammation as parts of their skin become dark and discoloured. This condition is known as hyper pigmentation.
- Varicose veins usually result in a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. Over time, CVI can result in what’s known as a venous leg ulcer. This is when an area of the skin breaks down to reveal the flesh underneath. Venous leg ulcers tend to get larger over time, leading to increasing discomfort and irritation in the legs.
- Varicose veins tend to break down the walls of the skin over time. This brings the varicose veins closer to the surface of the skin. In some cases, the slightest scratch or scrape can lead to excess blood loss. While the bleeding is usually painless, patients may experience significant blood loss if the condition goes untreated.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis is the most serious condition related to varicose veins. DVT usually results in pulling sensation in the legs, forming a blood clot. The patient may feel as if their nerves are being pinched with increased redness and swelling in the legs. If the blood clot travels further up the body, the condition could be life-threatening.
Avis vascular centre is a multi-speciality hospital located in the hearts of city Hyderabad. It operates satellite centres in Vijayawada, Guntur, Bangalore and Vizag.
Avis Hospital in Hyderabad expertises in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to varicose veins, leg pain, and uterine fibroids. Its main aim is to perform minimally invasive procedures with the highest standards of quality in a convenient, comfortable, and professional clinical setting. They have a team of highly trained and attentive staff dedicated to providing compassionate care.
Dr. Rajah V Koppala is a Vascular Interventional Radiologist trained in USA and UK. Avis Vascular Centre is India’s only vascular centre approved by American College of Phlebology.