Varicose Veins - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Varicose veins are typically found on the legs and develop as a result of long-standing pressure in the legs. Treatment strategies depend on how big and how deep the veins appear in the skin. 

Symptoms

Varicose veins are large, tortuous, dilated veins. These most often occur on the legs. They can be asymptomatic or can have associated pain and discomfort.

Causes

Varicose veins occur more as we age due to the decrease of structural integrity of veins with passing time. Typically, veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing in one direction. With time these valves start to become leaky, leading to backflow and dilation of the veins. This is exacerbated by conditions or environmental factors that lead to increased pressure in the venous part of the vascular system. There are numerous reasons for increased venous pressure in the body. Examples of this include prolonged standing or certain types of heart failure that result in increased pressure in the venous system.

Treatments

  • There are multiple surgical interventions possible to remove varicose veins. A physician can best tell you what type of surgery or injectable medication might reduce the appearance or destroy the veins depending on the location and size. 
  • Compression stockings or socks can help support varicose veins and can sometimes help relieve discomfort, but will not get rid of the veins once present. A physician should determine if you are healthy enough to wear medical grade compression stockings. Stockings and socks come in different “grades” of compression depending on each individual's needs. 
  •  Lasers that target hemoglobin can be used to destroy superficial varicose veins.