How to Treat Your Varicose Veins

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How to Treat Your Varicose Veins
June 30
09:44 2016

 Article Highlights

  • Genetics are the most common reason for varicose veins as a portion of the population will be at risk regardless of the precautions taken
  • Varicose veins occur when the one-way valves in the legs stop working properly due to increased pressure or poor functioning
  • The best way to diagnose would be via colour Doppler ultrasonography

One of the main culprits that stand in the way of achieving silky smooth legs is varicose veins. Varicose veins are large veins that look like a web of thick, winding branches that surface on the legs. Dr. Christina Plaskos, phlebologist at AEGIS MD, shared her expertise on varicose veins and what could be done to treat them. But before jumping into that, we first have to understand the main role of veins.

Veins are the returning portion of the circulatory system. Dr. Plaskos explains that after oxygenated blood is pumped through the body via the heart, it travels down a smaller arterial pathway to each organ and tissue in the body. Then, the venous system helps return that blood back to the heart to be replenished with oxygen through the lungs. Larger veins use a series of one-way valves to help fight the force of gravity and make sure that blood can move back up the extremities in a one-way direction.

Pregnancy, obesity and genetics are the main contributors to varicose veins.

“Genetics are the most common reason for varicose veins as a portion of the population will be at risk regardless of the precautions taken,” says Dr. Plaskos.

If you’ve noticed that your mother, grandmother and aunt have varicose veins, then it shouldn’t be too surprising if you develop them too. Pregnancy and obesity are also culprits of varicose veins as the extra weight causes additional pressure on other veins in the lower abdomen and upper thigh. Dr. Plaskos explains this all leads to increased pressure on the superficial veins that cause varicosities.

Varicose veins occur when the one-way valves in the legs stop working properly due to increased pressure or poor functioning.

“The increased pressure causes the veins to widen and continues to lessen the capabilities of the valves,” explains Dr. Plaskos. Think twice about sitting at the desk all day if you’re a workaholic. “Lack of movement, while in a typical seated position, aids in the development of the disease,”  points out Dr. Plaskos.

Work can be hectic, but give your legs (and your mind) a break for at least a few minutes a day. Dr. Plaskos suggests flexing your calves, taking a walk, jumping and pointing and raising your toes throughout the day to help keep the blood in your lower extremities moving.

It’s not unusual for people to self-diagnose themselves before actually seeing a doctor for medical concerns. However, the only way to have a proper diagnosis on your veins is to visit a healthcare professional.

“Besides the visual diagnosis of enlarged superficial veins, the best way to diagnose would be via colour Doppler ultrasonography,” says Dr. Plaskos.

She uses a Terason ultrasound system to see if there’s too much blood travelling in the wrong direction.

Once you’ve been professionally diagnosed, you could decide if you want medical procedures done. Remember, all of these procedures must be completed by a medical professional in an accredited non-hospital surgical facility. Dr. Plaskos explains the three main ways to treat varicose veins:

  1. Vein Stripping: The practitioner uses a long wire to tie off to a portion of your vein and pulls the full length of it out of the body. It’s typically about 60-70% effective.
  2. Endovenous Thermal Ablation: This procedure involves a heat source. At Dr. Plaskos’ practice, they use a Biolitec 1470mm laser to cook the vein from the inside. This procedure takes approximately 30-40 minutes and is typically over 95% effective.
  3. Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected into the veins that helps break down the inner lining and seal shut. It’s about 60-70% effective.




Like any other procedure, there are potential risks with these treatments. “With our laser procedure, there are few risks. However, it is possible to have side effects such as increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (0.03%) and parasthesia (7%),” mentions Dr. Plaskos. Minor bruising and staining are also possible risks.

Varicose veins might be unsightly and uncomfortable to have, but they’re typically not dangerous on their own. However, there’s still a chance they could worsen into other issues if left untreated or unmonitored. The issue could be as mild as pigmentation changes in the skin or as serious as venous ulceration.

It’s never too late to take simple preventative measures to avoid developing varicose veins.

“I would recommend that those of us [who are] required to work in rather sedentary positions to try to get up every one to two hours for a quick walk around the office,” advises Dr. Plaskos.

This helps push blood back towards the heart. She also highly recommends wearing compression stockings.

Do your legs a favour and get them moving whenever you can. After all, it’s a good excuse to fit in extra exercise within the day.

Deep Body Media Corp.

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Java Nguyen

Java Nguyen

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1 Comment

  1. Joane d August 13, 02:45

    my mother suffers from this and i was told that i may get it 🙁

    Reply to this comment

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