Varicose veins chance when the valves in our veins enable blood to move in the unwanted direction, which can cause pooling. This build-up of blood can lead to unsightly, blueish blotches appearing on our legs. The condition is treatable, and here’s six things Dr. Zalekha Shair of Metro Vein Centers of New York would like you to know about varicose veins.
Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
If you develop varicose veins during pregnancy, they may very well go away on their own. Blood flow often increases during pregnancy for the health of the baby, which means more blood is being pumped through the veins in the legs. This can lead to varicose veins, but it’s best to wait about six months after the birth of the baby to seek treatment. Once the body returns to its pre-pregnancy state, the varicose veins may simply disappear.
Diet and Exercise May Help
Because varicose veins are often a product of circulation problems, any heart-healthy foods as well as heart-healthy exercise can help alleviate symptoms. Of course, there could be a genetic cause for varicose veins, making them unavoidable; however, there is a good chance that if you avoid a sedentary lifestyle, walk regularly, avoid sitting or standing in one spot for too long (which can restrict blood flow), and eat nutrient-rich foods as part of a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle, you may avoid varicose veins altogether.
There are Different Kinds of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins tend to be thick, ropy, and quite abnormal looking. They also often hurt, which is what brings many people in for a doctor’s visit. Some people have what have been termed “spider veins,” which can be unsightly but are usually smaller and not as serious as varicose veins. People may choose to visit a vein doc if they don’t like how their spider veins look, but this is often only for cosmetic reasons. True varicose veins can be serious and could require medical attention.
Don’t Ignore the Symptoms
Again, varicose veins can be serious. Some of the symptoms associated with varicose veins can include dark splotchy patches on the skin, a hardening of the skin almost like eczema, and even ulcers in the affected areas. Any of these symptoms could mean something is seriously wrong. Pain, leg swelling, and muscle cramping can also be symptoms of a serious condition, so be sure to see your doctor if any of these symptoms occur.
Get an Ultrasound
An ultrasound of your legs will help your doctor know exactly where the problems lies. This can give her a better understanding of treatment options. In most cases, varicose veins can be corrected.
The basic treatment for varicose veins is to find the offending areas and close them to return the body back to normal blood flow. Laser ablation can be used to heat the affected vein, thus closing it. Another treatment option involves gluing the vein shut. A third option, sclerotherapy, uses a chemical foam to shut the vein. Discuss the best treatment options with your doctor.
Dr. Zalekha Shair is a Board-Certified General Surgeon and vein doc. She has been practicing for over 13 years. Shair currently practices at Metro Vein Centers in New York, with availability in White Plains and The Bronx.