Varicose veins are bulging , bluish veins running just under the surface of your skin. Swollen and twisted veins – sometimes surrounded by patches of flooded capillaries also known as spider veins, are called as superficial veins.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins but they are smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue. Spider veins occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. They vary in size and often look like a spider’s web. When inflamed ,they become tender to touch and can hinder circulation to the point of causing swollen ankles ,itchy skin and aching in the affected limb.
C that’s because of standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. The veins become varicose when faulty valves in the veins allow blood to flow in the wrong direction.
Varicose veins may not cause any pain .Signs of varicose veins may include –
• Veins that are dark purple or blue in colour.
• Veins that appear twisted and bulging ,they are often like cords on your legs .
Some patients may experience following symptoms –
• Aching legs
• Swollen ankles
• legs feel heavy, especially after exercise or at night.
• Venous eczema (stasis dermatitis) -skin in the affected area is red ,dry and itchy.
• Lipodermatosclerosis -fat under the skin just above the ankle can become hard , resulting in the skin to shrink.
• Telangiectasia in the affected leg (spider veins)
• A minor injury to the affected area may result in longer bleeding than normal.
• There may be a shiny discoloration near the varicose veins, usually brownish or blue in colour.
• Leg cramps
• Restless legs syndrome
• Atrophic blanche – irregular whitish patches that look like scars appear at the ankles.
Weak or damaged valves can lead to varicose veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. The return of blood to your heart ,the veins in your legs must work against gravity.
Muscle contraction in your lower legs act as pumps and elastic .Vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows towards your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward. If these valves are weak or damaged ,blood can flow backward and pool in the vein, causing the veins to stretch or twist .Due to these weakend valves , blood can accumulate in the veins ,which then become enlarged and swollen.
Any condition that puts pressure on the abdomen has the potential to cause varicose veins,e.g.pregnancy , constipation and in rare cases ,tumors.
Risk factors –
• Gender –
women are more affected than men.
• Genetics –
Family history of varicose veins often forward their legacy of varicose veins to their siblings.
• Age –
The risk increases with age of 50 yrs, due to wear and tear on Vein valves.
Being over weight increases the risk of varicose veins.
• Some jobs –
Long time standing jobs can increase risk of varicose veins.
• Pregnancy –
Pregnant women have much more blood in their body, this places extra pressure on the circulatory system. Additionally ,changes in hormone levels can lead to a relaxation of the body vessel walls. Both these factors raise the risk of having varicose veins.
• Eating a high fiber,low salt diet.
• To do plenty of exercise ,e.g. walking.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Don’t sit with the legs crossed
• Sit or sleep with your feet raised on a pillow.
• Avoiding high heels and tight hosiery.
A physical examination , mainly visual and asking about symptoms ,by your doctor will certainly help to diagnose whether you are diseased with varicose veins or not.
The following diagnostic test are sometimes ordered –
• Doppler test
• Colour duplex ultrasound scan
Rarely occurring complications of varicose veins include –
• Ullcers –
Painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles.
• Blood clots –
Any persistent leg pain or swelling may indication.
Compression stockings –
Wearing compression stockings all day is often the first choice of treatment .They steadily squeeze your legs , helping veins and leg muscles more blood more efficiently.
Additional treatment for more severe varicose veins –
• Laser treatment
• High ligation and vein stripping
• Ambulatory phlebectomy
• Endoscopic vein surgery
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda varicose veins can be correlated with siraja granthi. Varicose veins are due to imbalance of vata dosha. Vyana vata ,which is a subdosha of vata, is responsible to regulate the oxygen blood flow through arteries and veins .Due to imbalance of vata doshas ,there is excessive dryness occurs in veins and arteries which creates increased pressure that affects the valves and elasticity of veins.
Panchkarma Therapies –
• Leech therapy –
• Lepam –
• Navara kizhi –
• Udavartanam –
• Nadi swedan –
Beneficial Herbs –
• Arjuna –
• Ashwagandha –
• Guduchi –
• Amalaki –
• Gugglu –
• Nagkesar –
Effective Medications –
• Kaishore gugglu
• Chirbilavadi kasaya
• Erandmooladi kasaya
• Kanchnar gugglu
• Punarnavashtak kwath
• Ras sindur
• Sahcharadi tail
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