Your legs and feet are the extremities furthest from your heart, and when it comes to the blood returning to the heart and lungs, it’s here that veins face the greatest internal pressure. This pressure can be so great that veins stretch, and tiny valves that aid the one-way blood travel begin to fail.
When this happens to veins near the surface of your skin, the effects can be seen as blue or purple twisted or bulging blood vessels — varicose veins. While sometimes, varicose veins can be a sign of a serious health condition, for most people, it’s a cosmetic issue they’d rather do without.
At MD Vein & Skin Specialists, we have treatment options for your varicose veins. Dr. Clement Banda and our team match the conditions of your varicose veins with the solution best suited to treat them. Let’s examine your choices.
The causes of varicose veins
First, we need to know the enemy. Several elements conspire against the veins of your legs. We already looked at the pressure inside veins, but why does this happen?
Most people spend the day in an upright position, either sitting, standing, or walking. In every case, blood in the lower legs moves against gravity. Our bodies evolved to handle this directional movement by adding natural backflow preventers, those venous valves.
As you get older, your valves may suffer simple wear and tear. When valves don’t close entirely, some blood seeps backward, pooling and adding to the pressure on vein walls. Gender is another factor. The hormonal events in a woman’s life often create conditions that relax vein walls. As these stretch more easily, venous valves tend to fail more often.
Genetics play a role, so if immediate family members have varicose veins, your chances are greater, too. Extra pounds mean extra pressure on veins, and a sedentary lifestyle robs your legs of pumping support from contracting leg muscles. Sitting or standing for long periods increases the risk of pooling blood.
What are my treatment options for varicose veins?
In the early stages of varicose veins, we can recommend some simple adaptations to help your legs get the support they need. Compression stockings promote better blood flow, as does weight loss. Increasing the amount you walk aids both varicose veins and weight loss. Anything you can do to add movement to your life is a positive bonus.
For more advanced cases, Dr. Banda recommends several common varicose vein medical treatments. These include:
A chemical irritant injected into varicose veins causes them to collapse and absorb back into your body. Dr. Banda uses a foam irritant assisted by ultrasound technology to address the treated veins. Your body makes the necessary adjustments to ensure all cells retain access to blood flow.
Ablation, the medical term for tissue removal, can be done with a laser or radiofrequency energy. Though the technologies differ, each removes varicose vein tissue effectively.
Sometimes, the best approach sees entire veins pulled from your legs through small incisions, usually performed as an outpatient procedure with a short recovery time.
Which procedure is best for you? Find out in consultation with MD Vein & Skin Specialists in Columbia, Maryland. Book your appointment by phone or online today.