Varicose and spider veins are unsightly at the best of times, but did you know that varicose and spider veins can cause many other health related issues?
What are varicose and spider veins?
Veins play a very important part in the daily functioning of your body; they carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart so it can be re-oxygenated. One way valves inside these veins, also known as superficial veins, prevent the blood from travelling backward.
If these valves fail to function correctly, blood starts to pool. Over time the affected veins start to become raised, twisted, and darken in appearance, this is known as “varicose”.
The causes of spider veins are similar to those of varicose, however smaller and closer to the skin, with similar appearance to tree branches or spider webs (hence the name).
Varicose veins can lead to many health problems including but not limited to; blood clots, venous eczema, skin breakdown and ulcerations.
What are the causes of varicose and spider veins?
While an exact cause is unknown, there are many influencing factors that can contribute to varicose and spider veins. In many cases they run in families, seeming to affect women more than men. It is thought that hormonal changes as well as fluctuations of oestrogen levels may play a role in the appearance of varicose and spider veins.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing these conditions include:
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Prolonged immobility (being confined to bed)
- Lack of exercise
- High heels, as they affect the proper functions of larger veins
How to prevent varicose veins and spider veins
The following suggestions may help decrease the risk of varicose veins and spider veins:
- Wearing support stockings
- Keeping and controlling a good weight
- Regular exercise and stretching
- Avoid wearing heels
Unfortunately preventing varicose veins and spider veins is not always possible but the above precautions may minimise the risk of their development.
Treatment of varicose veins
If you have already started noticing the appearance of varicose veins – don’t stress. At The Varicose Vein Clinic our expertise is in assessing and treating varicose and spider veins, offering a broad range of same day non-surgical treatments with minimal, if any, downtime to suit most people.
Endovenous Laser Ablation Procedure (ELA)
ELA is a great alternative to traditional surgery with better results, no general anaesthetic and no hospital admission. Performed under local anaesthetic, a laser fibre is placed into the vein and the heat and light energy ‘welds’ the vein shut. The vein will then be absorbed back into the body. You can be back at work the next day.
For more information on ELA, click here.
Sclerotherapy and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Most commonly used to treat spider veins, a sclerosant is injected into the vein. This procedure used to use saline injections which were quite painful. Modern sclerosants provide better results with minimal discomfort. 30 minutes of walking is required post treatment to encourage healing. For more information on sclerotherapy, click here.
Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy (UGS), is sclerotherapy performed with the guidance of an ultrasound image. This treatment is used for varicose veins. More information on UGS can be found here.