Kucy Pon returned to chat with Chris about simple cosmetic procedures that can have you looking and feeling better!
What are varicose veins and spider veins?
Varicose veins are dark purple or blue veins that have become enlarged and dilated. Varicose veins are most commonly seen on the legs and feet; that is because standing and being on your feet for prolonged periods of time increases the pressure in these veins.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller and tend to be red in color. They can vary in size, and can look like a spider web, hence their name. Spider veins can occur anywhere on the body, but are commonly found on the face and legs.
What causes varicose veins?
Veins function to return blood back to the heart. But as we get older, veins lose their elasticity, and so they become stretched and dilated. When the veins become dilated, the valves found inside the veins that are supposed to direct the flow of blood upward to the heart, no longer meet properly and work, so there is a backflow of blood and the blood collects in the dilated veins giving varicose veins a purple blue color and it causes the veins to enlarge even more.
Standing for prolonged periods of time can cause blood to pool in dependent areas causing varicose veins to worsen.
Women may notice varicose veins developing during pregnancy. That is because pregnancy increases the volume of blood in the body, and also the uterus may cause increase pressure on the veins causing them to enlarge. And by the same reason, being overweight puts added pressure on the veins and may cause them to dilate.
Genetics, or family history, does play a role. If other family members had, or have varicose veins, there is an increased likelihood that you could get them too.
Are varicose veins a problem?
Many people do not like the appearance of varicose veins and for most people varicose veins are nothing more than a cosmetic problem. For some people varicose veins may feel achy, heavy or painful especially after prolonged standing or sitting. Some people may develop lower leg swelling, reddish brown skin discoloration eczema, and even skin ulcers from poor circulation and these people may need to see their dermatologist for treatment.
Can you treat varicose veins?
Keeping the legs elevated as much as possible can minimize blood from collecting in the leg veins and this will help improve the aching or pain associated with varicose veins. So try not to stand for prolonged periods of time, and when you are sitting put your legs up on an ottoman. Wearing compression stockings regularly can help varicose veins and leg swelling.
With regards to specific treatments, sclerotherapy is a commonly performed procedure for small to medium sized varicose and spider veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution, such as saline, into the veins to make them close up. Laser treatments may close off small varicose veins and spider veins. Lasers work by delivering heat specifically to the vein to cause the vein to coagulate.
More invasive procedures include surgical vein stripping where a long vein is removed through a small incision make in the skin.
Can you prevent varicose veins?
There are things you can do to minimize the risk of developing varicose veins. Exercise and having good muscle tone, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding prolonged periods of standing or sitting are helpful. If your job requires that you be on your feet all day long, wearing compression stockings may help, even if you do not have varicose veins.
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