Leg Veins

About Leg Veins

Varicose veins most commonly occur in the superficial veins in the legs. The term "varicose veins" refers to veins that have become swollen and/or twisted. Varicose veins cannot only appear unsightly, but can also be painful when standing or walking.

Spider veins are usually found in the thighs, ankles, and feet and look like thin web-like lines spread over the surface of the skin.

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Ankle swelling
  • Aching legs
  • Discoloration around the veins (often blue-brown)
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tired legs and feet

Talk to your doctor or health care provider if you're experiencing painful symptoms of varicose veins so that he or she can help determine the best course of action for your particular case.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose vein treatment often involves simple self-care. In more severe cases, medical procedures may be needed to treat varicose veins.

Self-Care Varicose Vein Treatments

Graduated support stockings and socks, which can help improve circulation. Elevating your legs to counter-act the forces of gravity preventing proper blood flow between your heart and legs. Exercising regularly to promote healthy blood flow and relieve stress on the leg veins.

Medical Varicose Vein Treatments

In severe cases, medical varicose vein treatments are needed to alleviate the pain and other symptoms of varicose veins. Medical varicose vein treatments include:

  • Radiofrequency: Radiofrequency uses heat to destroy biological tissue and close off the varicose veins.
  • Sclerotheraphy: During this varicose vein treatment, a medicine is injected into the blood vessels causing them to shrink. This shrinkage reduces the appearance of bulging varicose veins.
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment: During endovenous laser treatment a catheter is inserted into the vein, and a laser is used to destroy the varicose vein.
  • Surgery: Varicose veins can be removed surgically. Studies have shown that surgery has the lowest recurrence rate of all known varicose vein treatments.

To determine the best course of treatment, you should first determine the cause of the condition. Talk to your doctor or health care provider to determine the varicose vein treatment that best addresses your medical needs.

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Varicose veins during pregnancy are common due to the added stress on your legs.

Venous disease, or venous insufficiency, is a condition in which there is improper blood flow between your legs and heart. It causes blood to pool in the vessels of your legs. This blood pool can often result in varicose veins during pregnancy. Keeping your legs healthy during pregnancy is important for your overall health and well-being.

It is estimated that up to 40% of all women develop varicose veins during pregnancy, and venous disease can develop as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. In fact, venous disease can sometimes be the first sign of pregnancy.

Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

  • Talk to your health care professional.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Walk regularly.
  • Eat a high fiber, balanced diet.
  • Control your weight.
  • Follow a physician recommended exercise plan. Ask a health care provider about exercises that will help improve blood flow to the legs and feet, therefore reducing your risk of developing varicose veins during pregnancy.
  • Avoid high impact aerobics, such as running, jogging, or weight lifting.
  • Keep legs uncrossed while sitting. Crossing your legs reduces circulation. This reduction in circulation can cause varicose veins during pregnancy.
  • Keep legs elevated higher than the heart when resting. This helps the blood return to the heart, reducing the risk of developing pregnancy varicose veins.
  • Don't wear exceptionally tight clothing or girdles.
  • When traveling, take time to walk and stretch your legs. This will get your blood moving and reduce your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Talk to your doctor or health care provider about the causes of varicose veins during pregnancy and treatment options.

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