Types of Varicose Veins, Risk Factors and Treatment Options

Varicose veins are twisted or swollen veins that appear under the skin. Some people seek treatment for cosmetic concerns. But the condition can pose considerable pain and lead to health complications. South Florida Vascular Associates offers minimally invasive Plantation varicose veins treatment options.

What causes varicose veins?

Veins are blood vessels that transport deoxygenated blood to your heart. They have one-way valves that must overcome gravity to keep the blood moving.

The valves can stretch and lose their elasticity as you grow older. The valves weaken, allowing blood to flow back. The veins become swollen as the blood accumulates around the site.

Several factors may cause the vein to weaken. Standing or sitting for extended periods could stretch the valves and lead to varicose veins.

Varicose veins risk factors

The precise reasons causing varicose veins are not fully understood. But you are at a high risk of developing varicose veins if you are overweight.

Excessive weight exerts undue pressure on your circulatory system. That means the valves must overwork to deliver blood to the heart. The blood vessels will eventually succumb, leading to varicose veins.

Another risk factor is smoking, which damages the blood vessels and limits their performance. Your doctor may encourage you to quit the habit. You can reverse some of the damage to the veins if you stop smoking and exercise regularly.

Other risk factors may include:

  • Inactivity or the lack of exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging or genetics
  • Leg injuries    
  • Oral contraceptives

Types of varicose veins

Reticular varicose veins are visible mesh-like veins that cover a wider area. They typically have a red, purple, or green appearance. While they are not as small as spider veins, reticular varicose veins do not bulge outwards like saphenous varicose veins.

Saphenous varicose veins affect the saphenous veins located under the skin’s surface in the legs. The saphenous veins are usually not visible when the blood vessels are healthy. But they bulge and become conspicuous when the valves are damaged.

Spider veins are typically smaller than reticular or saphenous varicose veins. They are red or blue and appear like a web or tree branches. Spider veins also affect capillaries and can appear anywhere in the body.

Varicose veins management

Mild to moderate cases of varicose veins can be treated with non-invasive methods such as compression stockings. Stockings support blood vessels by exerting gentle pressure, preventing blood from accumulating around the valve.

You can also manage varicose veins by making positive lifestyle adjustments. Exercises like walking or jogging improve muscle tone and support blood vessels. Switching to low-heeled shoes can also strengthen your calves to prevent blood pooling.

Treatment options for varicose veins

Sclerotherapy is a process that utilizes a saline solution that is injected into the affected blood vessels. It scars the vein and forces it to collapse. Your body will dissolve the vein, and blood vessels should disappear after three to six weeks.

Laser ablation employs an approach similar to sclerotherapy. The applicator generates thermal energy and directs it to the vein. The heat scars the blood vessel forcing it to collapse.

Contact South Florida Vascular Associates to schedule an appointment today.

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