Varicose veins are a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. If you are one of them, you know all too well that varicose veins are more than just cosmetic nuisances. The symptoms these faulty veins cause can include achiness, fatigue and cramping. Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT) and sclerotherapy are common varicose veins treatments for these unsightly, bulging veins, but other therapies like compression therapy may also provide relief.
If severe, therapy could be an option, but to understand how compression therapy works, it’s helpful to understand what varicose veins are and what causes them.
What are Varicose Veins?
Unlike arteries, veins have to rely on a one-way valve system to keep blood flowing in one direction: back toward the heart. In people with varicose veins, the walls of the veins have lost their flexibility, weakening the one-way valves and causing them not to work correctly. When this happens, blood is allowed to flow backward through the valve and collect or pool behind it.
As the blood collects, it remains stagnant allowing it to coagulate or thicken. The vein begins to enlarge as more blood accumulates. This usually happens in several valves along the course of the vein, giving it a characteristic bumpy and twisted look. Because the blood coagulates, the vein takes on a deep bluish-purple color, making it very noticeable through the skin.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can have many causes including:
• Not moving for long periods of time in any position (sitting, standing or laying).
• Excessive Weight Gain
• History of Leg Injury or Surgery
• Aging (which causes a loss of elasticity in the vein walls)
It may seem that just about anything can cause varicose veins, but thankfully there are treatments available, such as EVLT and sclerotherapy.
Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins Treatment
Compression therapy is another varicose vein treatment that can help alleviate symptoms. It involves wearing a stocking that provides support to the leg, improving circulation and preventing excess fluid from accumulating in the limb. It aids the veins in fighting gravity, making it easier for them to get blood and fluid back to the heart. Although not a cure, compression therapy can help alleviate the pain and fatigue varicose veins can cause.
If you have varicose veins or think you might be at risk for developing them, contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic to schedule your appointment today.