What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose Veins


Definition of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen and dilated veins that generally occur in the legs due to a buildup of blood. For someone with varicose veins, their veins can appear bulging blue or dark purple in color. Sometimes, the shape resembles a knot or twisted rope.

Varicose veins can occur in any vein in the body. However, this condition most often occurs in the feet (especially the calves) because of the great pressure when we stand or walk.

Varicose Risk Factors

Most cases of varicose veins are experienced by women than men. Not only that, other factors that can increase a person's risk of developing varicose veins are obesity, pregnancy, and old age.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Accumulation of blood in the veins occurs due to weakening or damage to the valves of the veins. Veins function to carry blood from all over the body to the heart.

Inside the veins, there are valves that function as a one-way door so that blood that has passed through it cannot return again. Weak or damaged venous valves cause backflow of blood and accumulation of blood in the veins. This buildup causes the vessels to dilate.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

If the varicose veins are still relatively mild, the sufferer will not feel bothersome symptoms. Symptoms of varicose veins will be especially felt when the sufferer stands for too long or lives in an area with warm weather.

To relieve it a little, you can try to take a leisurely walk for a while or rest while sitting or lying down by placing your feet on a cushion as a support so that the position of your feet is lifted.

Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

There are two types of simple examinations that the doctor will perform in diagnosing varicose veins, namely a physical examination and a medical history. A physical examination is performed on areas of the body that are sore, swollen, or injured. The doctor may also ask the patient to move the legs into different positions to observe blood flow.

Other investigations can also be done if the diagnosis based on the appearance of the veins is less accurate or complications are suspected. The follow-up examination recommended by the doctor is a Duplex Doppler ultrasound, which is a scanning method to see blood flow in the veins.

An angiogram test can also be done, which is an examination method by injecting a special substance into a vein so that it flows with the blood. Then, the doctor will pay attention to the smooth flow of the substance. If it is not smooth, then this could be a sign that there is a blood clot in the vein.

Complications of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins should not be taken lightly and should be treated with care. If this condition has occurred for years, the disruption of blood flow in the veins has the potential to cause complications, such as:

  • Thrombophlebitis, which is a condition when blood clots and inflammation occur in small veins that are located close to the surface of the skin. Symptoms are characterized by pain in the affected area of ​​varicose veins and skin that looks red.
  • Deep vein thrombosis. The cause is almost the same as thrombophlebitis, namely blood clots in the vessels. Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling and pain in the legs.
  • Ulcers or open sores. This condition is caused by a buildup of fluid in the tissues which leads to increased blood pressure in the veins. Over time, sores will form on the skin around the varicose veins and will be very painful. The part that is usually prone to this complication is the ankle. This condition occurs when the varicose veins rupture. Bleeding that occurs is usually mild.

Varicose Veins Treatment

Varicose veins that are still relatively mild can still be treated at home. This treatment is done to relieve symptoms, prevent varicose veins from getting worse, and avoid complications such as wounds or bleeding.

One example of treatment that can be done is wearing antivaricose stockings or also called compression splints. Avoid standing for too long and take a few moments to rest your legs in a lying position with a support given (legs are higher than the body). Don't forget to always maintain an ideal body weight and exercise regularly.

If you still feel discomfort or pain due to varicose veins despite treatment at home, or even cause complications, then you should immediately see a doctor.

The treatment methods that the doctor may suggest are surgical removal of the veins with varicose veins and surgical closure of the veins using a special foam material (sclerotherapy) or by using heat (endothermal ablation).

Varicose veins Prevention

Prevention of varicose veins can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Do exercise regularly to increase leg muscle strength and blood circulation
  • Try to avoid wearing tight or tight clothing around the waist, thighs, and legs.
  • Reduce salt consumption to avoid swelling.
  • Reduce spicy foods that can stimulate the dilation of blood vessels.
  • Quit smoking because it can cause blood vessel damage.

Questions About Varicose Vein

Doc, is it true that varicose veins are caused by bending our legs after exercise?

Asked by: alwidahlan26
Answered by: Dr. Rizal Fadli

Actually why the legs need to be straightened or stretched after exercise is not because it can cause varicose veins. The suggestion or position is a cooling phase so that pain or cramping after exercising does not occur. In short, straightening the legs after exercise is not directly related to the development of leg varicose veins. Even so, the relationship between varicose veins and exercise should not be ignored. The reason is, exercise that is too heavy and excessive can cause varicose veins, including leg varicose veins.

This strenuous activity or exercise can increase the blood supply to the veins. While varicose veins are caused by the incompetence of the veins themselves. Well, this can later cause the veins to not be able to drain blood back to the heart, so that the blood vessels experience accumulation, dilation, and enlargement. Strenuous exercise in question can be lifting barbells, tug of war, or sports that require pushing power. So that exercise does not cause varicose veins, try to balance out moderately strenuous exercise with lighter exercises such as aerobics or jogging.

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