That's why veins look purple or blue. It's a lot of work to move all that blood. To do their job, veins are full of valves that help keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Valves are like tiny doors that close after the blood has passed through to keep blood moving along and to make sure it doesn't flow backward. As people get older, though, the valves might not work as well. When that happens, some blood can stay in a vein instead of moving forward like it should.
This makes the vein swell, and that swollen vein is a varicose vein. The veins often show up on the legs, ankles, and feet because those body parts are farthest from the heart. Gravity pulls blood down into your legs and feet when you're standing up or sitting down. So the veins have to work extra hard to get that blood back up to the heart, and some of those veins can wear out over time.
Varicose veins look twisted and purple or blue, and they're raised, which means they look like they're sitting on top of the skin.
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They can be tender and painful, especially after sitting or standing still for a long time. People who have varicose veins might also have achy legs that feel heavy. Varicose veins are more common in women. People are more likely to get them as they get older. Surgery is the only way to cure itchy varicose veins. Sclerotherapy For this procedure, your doctor injects a special medication into your veins.
The chemical irritates the veins and causes scar tissue to form. Eventually, the treated veins close up.
After three to four months, your varicose veins should disappear. A newer version of this treatment uses foam to close the veins. Laser treatment This treatment uses an intense light to get rid of varicose veins. It works on smaller veins. You may need more than one treatment to erase veins completely. Endovenous ablation therapy For this procedure, your doctor makes a very small skin incision and inserts a thin tube called a catheter into the vein.
Radiofrequency energy or a laser at the tip of the catheter heats up and closes the vein. Endoscopic vein surgery During this surgical treatment, your doctor makes a small skin incision and inserts a thin tube with a camera on the end into the vein. A special device near the end of the camera closes off the vein. This procedure is usually reserved for severe varicose veins that have caused open sores to form in the skin.
Vein stripping and ligation This procedure ties off and removes the vein through small incisions. You may be asleep during the surgery. Ambulatory phlebectomy This procedure involves your doctor making small cuts in your skin and removing veins that are close to the surface.
Spike in My Veins
Prop up your legs on a stool or pillow once every 2 hours for about 15 minutes. Also, try to keep your legs raised while you sleep. Placing your legs above your heart will keep blood flowing in the right direction, and prevent it from pooling in your veins. Tight, compression stockings put pressure on your legs to improve your venous blood circulation and bring down swelling. You can buy them over the counter at your local drugstore, or you can obtain them with a prescription from your doctor.
Buying prescription stockings will help ensure you get a pair that fits you well, as your doctor will be able to help choose the compression strength best for you. Prescription stockings also provide more support than over-the-counter ones. Apply a moisturizer to your skin a few times a day to relieve dryness. A thick emollient cream or petroleum jelly works well.
Here are a few other ways to care for your legs and prevent your varicose veins from getting worse:. Lifestyle changes like wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs will improve blood flow in your legs. Usually appearing in the legs, varicose veins may also occur in the anus, where they are known as hemorrhoids.
While not a serious health risk, varicose veins can be eliminated for cosmetic reasons or if they cause discomfort.
Superficial Thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis is the inflammation of a vein usually in an extremity, especially one of the legs that occurs in response to a blood clot in the vessel. When it occurs in a vein near the surface of the skin, it is known as superficial thrombophlebitis, a minor disorder commonly identified by a red, tender vein.
Vein - Wikipedia
It may produce less-pronounced symptoms at first half of all cases are asymptomatic but carries the risks of pulmonary embolism when the clot detaches from its place of origin and travels to the lung and chronic venous insufficiency impaired outflow of blood through the veins , resulting in dermatitis, increased skin pigmentation and swelling.
When to Call Your Doctor Call your doctor if you have a painful, swollen vein that does not disappear in a few days, or if you have unexplained swelling in an arm or leg. Prevention Follow prevention tips as recommended by your doctor. These can include walking, controlling weight, wearing low-heeled shoes and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing in one position.
Following a heart attack or major surgery, low doses of an anticoagulant such as heparin or warfarin may be recommended. Getting up and walking around again as soon as possible following either of those events is also advised. Diagnosis Varicose vein diagnosis may be made by observation of veins and does not require a doctor.
In some cases x-rays may be taken after a contrast medium is injected into the veins venography to highlight them. Doctors can usually diagnose superficial thrombophlebitis based on your medical history and a physical examination. Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is harder to diagnose, so the doctor may require further tests.
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A venous duplex examination, a type of imaging test, to see how efficiently the veins are returning blood to your heart is often performed. This test also detects blood clots in the legs. While you lie on your back, a small ultrasound imaging device is placed on the skin over the major veins in the leg, allowing the technician to see the veins and listen to the flow of blood. Pictures may be taken at various sites. Treatment Doctors at Johns Hopkins recommend the following for treating varicose veins:.