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Varicose Veins

Blood clots, especially DVT's have an adverse affect on internal vein system causing; varicose veins aka spider veins.

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Varicose Veins:

Knowledge. Exercise. Diet. Prevention Therapy.

Varicose Veins What is it?

Varicose Veins and Spider Veins are very similar, but differ in the size and nature. Varicose Veins are large, twisted, blue/dark purple, which are normally caused by pressure within the arterial system causing weakened walls of the veins and pooling of blood.

Spider veins look like a small blueish mesh, resembling a spider web. Spider veins are distinctive from their appearance alone. The size of the lines are outlined on the outer layer of skin, which illustrates the difference between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins.

The valves in my legs have been battered to the point that there’s a great deal of pooling of blood. My lower limbs, including my feet are in constant pain and swelling, which ultimately comes and goes on a daily basis. Education, exercise and blood flow risk-prevention is key to developing healthy veins.” ~ Martin R. Lemieux, Founder

Known Causes:

Pregnancy:
Pregnant women produce more blood during pregnancy, increasing the pressure on the arterial system causing veins and arteries to stretch, bulge and swell. A fetus can also cause some problems as they grow, sometimes pushing and pinching areas that affect the delivery of blood.

Venous Insufficiency:
When a patient, especially one who’s suffered through blood clots, the vein-valves become weakened. Blood flow while standing up isn’t as good as when sitting down. The valves deteriorate and don’t function like they used to. This causes swelling, stiffness, blood pooling, bleeding, ulcers, etc. With venous insufficiency, it’s very common for a patient to develop varicose veins and spider veins.

Deep Vein Thrombosis:
Having a blood clot is very traumatic on veins and arteries and their respective valves. The location above the clot has to find other smaller routes to deliver the blood, thus causing strain on smaller systems. This strain puts massive pressure on the backup system causing it to bleed, bulge, bruise and blow up like a balloon.

Age:
Over time our bodies deteriorate. This is also true with our arterial valves that allow blood flow up and down. As we age, these valves weaken, causing pressure to build in certain areas and for blood to pool. As blood pools, the veins are stretched and become bloated.

Trauma / Surgery:
Traumatic events aren’t usually vein-friendly. Events such as; surgeries, falls, and accidents that put a lot of strain on the arterial system. Typically, there’s a lot of bruising and damage done to the arteries, but with traumatic events, the walls of the arteries and veins weaken, causing varicose veins to appear.

Statistics Statistics

Most humans develop varicose or spider veins at some point in their life. Varicose veins aren’t normally dangerous, but in cases where there’s a catalyst which forces strain on the arteries and veins, varicose veins are typically symptoms of other underlining vascular conditions and options should be discussed with a doctor (Vascular Surgeon).

“Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment three to 12 months after delivery.”

Source: MayoClinic.com

“Varicose veins are a relatively common condition, and for many people they are a family trait. Women are at least twice as likely as men to develop them. In the U.S. alone, they affect about 23% of all Americans.”

Source: WebMD.com

“According to the American Society for Vascular Surgery, at least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins. Statistics further show that 17% of men and 33% of women have varicose veins. In fact, more people are unable to work due to vein disorders than due to arterial disease.”

Source: Vascular.org

Signs and Symptoms Signs & Symptoms

Typically Varicose / Spider Veins can be seen by the visible eye. A great deal of people over the age of 65+ experience some form of venous insufficiency in their lifetime. For those who are younger and healthy, showing signs of having Varicose Veins and/or Spider Veins is usually introduced do to an event, illness, a pregnancy or trauma.

Here are some SIGNS to look for:

• Veins popping out of the skin
• Bulging irritation felt through the skin layer
• Blueish / Deep Purple coloured veins
• A mesh of veins visible
• Twisted, bulging “cords” down the leg
• Veins wrapping around the ankle (venous insufficiency)
• Hard skin sensations in the lower limbs

Here are some SYMPTOMS patients experience:

• Burning sensations in the legs
• Muscle cramps, throbbing sensations
• Swelling in your lower limbs
• Stiffness and pain
• Sensitive to the touch (area of visible veins)
• Swelling and pain after non-movement

Therapies Therapies

There are a number of known therapies that may help to reduce, and in some cases, remove the signs of Varicose / Spider Veins all together. Please make sure to consult your doctor for any of the below treatments. Clots Matter is here to help provide you with information to better educate yourself and your healthcare needs.

Remember that therapies greatly depend on the needs of the patient. Please consult your doctor for your options.

Compression Stockings:

Patients suffering from a Varicose Veins / Spider Veins should automatically wear compression stockings when they are up during the day. If possible, wearing less-compressive socks at night are also recommended (for extreme inflammation).

• Help to regulate blood flow
• Compress the damaged arteries for better flow
• Help to prevent swelling of the legs
• Keep constant pressure
• Help to protect soft, damaged tissue
• Increased healing for ulcers
• Wound care management (if required)
• Come in different compression ratings
• Knee high
• Thigh high
• Waste high

Depending on the level of comfort and compression a patient needs, the market has a different compression stocking for everyone’s needs. Talk to your doctor about getting fitted for your very own uniquely tailored compression stockings right away, it may save your legs from a lot of pain and inflammation years in the future.

Treatments for more Severe Cases of Varicose Veins:

(In no particular order)

1. Ambulatory Phlebectomy:
This procedure involves a surgeon to puncture the skin at certain intervals to safely remove smaller problem veins that are causing the patient any discomfort. Due to the fact that no incision is made, scarring and other unrelated problems remain at a minimum.

2. Endoscopic Vein Harvesting (EVH):
This procedure involved using medical tools (ie. Endoscope) that will allow the surgeon to locate the problem veins through a small hole within the leg. The Endoscope is attached with a video camera allowing the surgeon to see clearly and cut the dead or damaged veins.

3. Laser Surgery:
Newer techniques with laser therapy allow a burst of light to literally dissolve the vein(s) in question on the surface of the skin. This is a very safe and non-invasive method to remove smaller spider veins and some larger varicose veins. There’s no incisions and no damaged tissue due to an operation. Recovery is minimal.

4. Radiofrequency / Laser Therapy:
With this procedure, your doctor will insert a Catheter into the vein in question, the tip will send radiofrequency heat and light to eliminate the vein in question as the Catheter is pulled out, the remaining vein is collapsed and closed to further use.

5. Sclerotherapy:
One of the newer procedures available which simply involves the injection of a gelatin material (Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and gelatin-impregnated acrylic polymer spheres) into the bloodstream that helps to block the vessels permanently.

6. Ovarian Vein Embolization:
This procedure refers to helping a rare condition called “Pelvic Congestion Syndrome” (“A painful condition resulting from the presence of enlarged or varicose veins in the pelvis.” Source: RadiologyInfo.org). Your doctor can perform the procedure from their office, selecting from a variety of agents to be injected into the vein using a catheter in order to; close, break down, fill, or collapse the vein completely. This method is non-invasive.

7. Vein Stripping:
Vein and ligitation stripping refers to a small surgical proceedure that removes unwanted veins through a process called venous ablation. This process removes unwanted varicose veins and prevents future varicose veins from forming.

8. Vein Legation:
This alternative procedure goes in junction with other procedures to help identify blood pooling areas, make a small incision in order to tie off the vessel all together.

Prevention and Risks Prevention & Risks:

Having blood clots always poses risks of creating varicose veins. Clots block up the pathways forcing the walls of the veins to expand, which also forces the valves to open and close unexpectedly.

It is said that varicose veins can’t be prevented, but further damage and forming other vein anomalies can be helped.

Prevention Techniques:

1. Blood Flow Risk Prevention:
Doing something for too long can cause problems. For example, standing and sitting for hours on end puts a strain on your arterial system, thus causing increased risks developing more varicose and spider veins.

2. Open up your Pelvic Area:
Having the right posture while sitting in a chair is very important. Hunching over, closing your pelvic area is not advised at all. Keeping your pelvic area open for blood to flow properly not only helps with varicose vein prevention, but also helps to maintain healthy limbs now and in the future.

3. Raising Your Legs:
It is very important to raise your legs above your heart on a daily basis, especially at night. This relieves pressure on your heart and increases blood flow to important areas below your waist.

4. Tight Fitting Socks:
Anytime you wear socks or garments that are tight and can cut off circulation, you cause your system to adapt and to pump harder just to get blood to areas that matter.

NOTE: This is not the same as wearing compression stockings which are measured for fitness and proper compression throughout.

5. Compression Stockings:
For many blood clot survivors, compression may be necessary to keep blood flowing and to decrease the pain and swelling due to battered arterial systems. Varicose veins are formed in order to correct blood flow problems; proper compression can help alleviate some of the long term effects.

6. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Obesity is known to cause strain on the heart. Eating healthy is very important to developing healthy valves without adding more strain to the system.

7. Keep Fit – Exercise:
As with all things, exercise is very important for all human beings. But, that being said, too much exercise, especially really heavy lifting may cause more damage than good. See a specialist about the right exercise program that best fits your needs to maintaining strong muscles in the legs.

Medical Note:

Any and all information provided here is not designed to give medical advice and/or replace recommendations from doctors.
Information therein comes from personal experiences of thrombosis patients.

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