Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins that move blood to the heart cannot close properly. Blood that should have been transported back up to the heart leaks downwards instead and “pools” in the lower parts of the body. This causes the blood vessels to become dilated and twisted. If this occurs in superficial veins, the result is varicose veins, most commonly recognized as lumpy protrusions on the legs.
Who’s at Risk?
Varicose veins affect about fifty percent of all middle-aged adults in the Western World. The condition is twice as likely to occur in women as in men. Although the health risks may be minimal in the vast majority of cases, for many sufferers, the cosmetically disfiguring appearance of varicose veins can cause considerable distress, if the condition is left untreated.
Despite considerable advancements in spider and varicose vein treatment, no surgical procedure is entirely risk-free. Nor has any treatment method, either surgical or non-surgical, been scientifically proven to prevent the recurrence of varicose and spider veins.
Inevitably, success rates depend largely upon several factors, including heredity and an individual’s genetic predisposition for weak blood vessel walls. Other significant determinants include general cardiovascular and circulatory fitness, a person’s age, hormones and diet. People with sedentary lifestyles are less likely to benefit from treatment than those who are active and exercise regularly.
Varicose vein treatment strategies range from self care and preventive measures to highly invasive surgical procedures. People suffering from the condition are advised to consult their physician or dermatologist who will recommend the type of treatment most appropriate for their individual circumstances.
Self Care and Preventive Measures
A great deal can be done to relieve and manage the common symptoms of the condition, thus avoiding the need for invasive surgical procedures. A few simple lifestyle changes may be all that’s required. Your dermatologist can advise you about how best to control the symptoms of venous insufficiency and prevent their exacerbation.
Self care options include:
a high-fiber, low-fat, low-refined carbohydrate diet
avoiding restrictive clothing
wearing compression stockings
avoiding long periods of standing or sitting
elevating legs above heart level
hydrotherapy with warm sitz baths
avoiding scratching itchy skin
New Developments and Innovative Treatment Options
Although surgical options, such as the conventional “stripping” method, as well as sclerotherapy, and less invasive laser therapy are all readily available, interest is focusing increasingly upon newer, innovative treatments that require minimal disruption to the patient.