Have you ever played golf or otherwise spent some time outside during the summer and when you looked down at the person’s calves, there were squiggly, paths traversing under the skin.
Does the person have some sort of Star Trek-ish ailment, maybe planted by an angry Klingon? No, that person has varicose veins.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are bulging, bluish cords running just beneath the surface of the skin. They occur mostly on the legs and feet. These are considered superficial varicose veins. They can be painful, but are usually harmless. When inflamed, they become tender to the touch and can hinder circulation sometimes leading to swollen ankles and itchy skin. Most often, however, varicose veins are something the patient simply doesn’t like seeing on his or her legs.
Women are more than twice as likely to develop varicose veins. There seems to be a genetic trait in them, so if your mother or father had them chances are you will too.
Why do varicose veins happen?
Your arteries circulate the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. The veins have the job of returning the blood back to the heart. Whereas arteries have think layers of muscle and elastic tissue, veins instead rely mainly on surrounding muscles and a network of one-way valves. As blood flows through a vein, valves open to let the blood through, and then quickly close to prevent backflow.
Because veins near the surface have less muscle support than deep veins, they are more likely to become varicose. When a vein becomes varicose the valves are malfunctioning, allowing blood to pool in the vein instead of moving onto the next valve. This pooling of blood increases venous pressure and sometimes makes the vein bulge and twist. And because the blood is de-oxygenated and headed back to more oxygen it shows as blue under the skin.
What are common causes of varicose veins?
Anything that puts excess pressure on the legs or abdomen can lead to the development of varicose veins. Pregnancy, obesity, jobs that entail standing for long periods, chronic constipation, and being overly sedentary are all possible causes of varicose veins.
Dr. Yates prefers to use endovenous laser therapy for varicose veins. After applying local anesthesia, Dr. Yates inserts a tiny laser into the vein. The vein walls absorb the laser energy as heat. This damages the vein wall and causes it to eventually collapse. Over time the body simply absorbs the now unused vein. The blood that once flowed through it is re-routed to another vein.
Tired of those bulging veins on your legs and feet? Call Dr. Yates at (563) 275-4701 and let’s talk about treating your varicose veins.