What you should know about varicose veins What you should know about varicose veins

What you should know about varicose veins

Special 3 November, 2016 Isabel Vallejo

Spider veins in your legs can be the first sign of this disease, which affects more than physical appearance. Learn about the disease with the help of peripheral vascular doctor, Andrés Duque.

What is the role of veins?

“They are the tubes that are in charge of carrying deoxygenated blood from the periphery of the body towards the heart so that it may become oxygenated and begin to circulate once again. Veins from the lower extremities undergo more pressure because they must work against gravity, pushing blood up from the feet through the legs and to the heart.”

What are varicose veins?

“Varicose disease is a hereditary condition in which the individual inherits ‘poor quality veins,’ which over time, begin to degenerate and expand to the point where they can be seen through the skin. The damage to the veins also means that they are not capable of bringing blood from the extremities back to the heart, and this stagnant blood causes discomfort.”

What are some of the symptoms of varicose veins?

“Normally you feel pain, heaviness, swelling, itchiness or a tingling sensation in your legs and they may be visible through the skin in the form of ‘spider veins’ or raised, venous lines. The disease is progressive and depending on its progress, can manifest in minor symptoms to its most serious form, venous ulcers.”

What should you do if have them?

“Upon first noticing this condition, it is best to see a specialist to get early treatment which helps prevent complications that may be very painful and difficult to manage if they are left untreated. The role of doctors is to alleviate the discomfort they cause and stop the veins from degenerating.”

How can they be prevented?

“Unfortunately, there are no medications, physical activities or foods that can prevent the onset of this condition when you have a genetic predisposition to it. The best way to prevent this condition from affecting your quality of life is by visiting your doctor periodically and by being aware of any symptoms that may appear.”

What practices are recommended?

“For people that must spend several hours on their feet due to their profession, special compression socks are recommended that provide an external support to the veins so that they do not expand and therefore encourage circulation. Similarly, taking active breaks that put the muscle pump of your legs to work is suggested for those who must stay seated all day. Lastly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential in order to prevent complications.”

Medication and creams are used to improve symptoms related to varicose veins, not to eliminate or prevent their appearance.