What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged bulging surface veins. They are most commonly found on the legs and feet.
Spider veins or telangiectasia are tiny blue, purple or red veins lying just below the surface of the skin. They occur as single lines or form a mesh-like network resembling a spider’s web. They are most commonly found on the legs or face.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
- Aching, or throbbing
- Swelling and heavy feeling in the legs usually worse at the end of the day or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing
- Itchiness around the varicose veins
- Skin rashes, discolouration or inflammation
- Skin damage and ulceration
What causes Varicose veins?
The arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and the veins return the blood to the heart. When sitting or standing the veins in the legs are working against gravity and they rely on the contraction of the calf muscles to pump the blood upwards and small valves in the veins to prevent the blood from refluxing downwards. If the veins lose their elasticity and stretch or the valves malfunction, blood refluxes down the leg and pools in the calf resulting in varicose veins and high venous pressures, which in severe cases can damage the skin permanently.
What are the risk factors for varicose veins?
- Increasing age
- Female gender
- Family history
- Being overweight
- Prolonged standing or sitting
How will my varicose veins be assessed?
- History and examination
- Duplex ultrasound
What treatments are available for my varicose veins?
- Compression stockings
- Injection foam sclerotherapy
- Endovenous laser ablation
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Venaseal glue