Have you heard of the term varicose veins before? It seems like that term gets thrown around a lot but what does it actually mean?
Varicose veins are a relatively common condition which almost always affects an individual’s legs and feet. Typically, they occur just underneath the skin and are easily visible. These veins appear swollen, bluish-purple, twisted and can reduce circulation, causing swollen ankles, and itchy skin. Many people with this condition complain of pain that can be described as aching or cramping in the legs. Around 25% of all adults have varicose veins and women are twice as likely to get them.
This issue occurs when veins are not functioning properly. In a normal and healthy vein, blood should flow in one direction towards the heart. Veins have many valves spread throughout it to assist with this process and each valve will prevent blood from flowing backwards. When these valves are damaged, blood begins to collect in the veins and begins to pool and expand them. This process is what gives varicose veins their distinct appearance.
Individuals likely at risk are women who are pregnant, women who have reached menopause, individuals over 30, people who stand for long periods of time, people who travel, obese individuals, and having a family history of varicose veins. Therefore, it seems like everyone is at a high risk to get these lovely purple thick veins on their legs to show around.
To help prevent/worsen varicose veins the following changes are recommended.
- Avoid standing for extended periods of time
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise to improve blood circulation
- Elevating the legs
- Using compression socks or stockings
If you suffer from varicose veins, I really recommended you go see your family doctor who can help diagnose this condition and prescribe compression socks. With a doctor referral, compression socks are covered by your extended health benefits.
The way they work is by increasing the pressure on your legs and help push blood pooled in your veins back to your heart and reduce swelling. The level of compression varies depending on the extent of your condition, and can be discussed with your doctor and physiotherapist. If you suffer from varicose veins, compression socks with a “medical-grade” may be right for you. Grades range from 20 to 30 mmHg, 30 to 40mmHg, or more than 40 mmHg. The higher the compression, the tighter the stockings are at the foot and ankle to help push blood through the veins.
Now I know I have bombarded you with a ton of information reading this article. My goal is to educate you on this condition, and learn how to manage and reduce the symptoms associated with varicose veins. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to call Be Well Medical Clinic at (905) - 709 - 7979 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team would be happy to answer any of your questions.
I hope after reading this you are able to give a university presentation on varicose veins and educate other individuals suffering from this condition.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Steve Shelmov, Physiotherapist