What to do About Your Varicose Veins this Summer

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What to do About Your Varicose Veins this Summer

With summer holidays already upon us it is natural to want to do something about the varicose veins you suffer from. Although it is a complaint that affects around 25% of women and 15% of men, these veins can be unsightly which can affect your confidence and self-esteem, not to mention the pain and soreness they cause.  

For those who may not already know, varicose veins are caused by blood “pooling” in the veins, as a result of the valves failing to prevent reverse blood flow. It is this “pooling” which enlarges the veins so they protrude from the skin and gives them a dark purple or even red hue. Varicose veins can appear anywhere, but are most common on the calf.

Many may believe that varicose veins are only a concern for women once they hit middle age, this is incorrect. Although anyone can develop varicose veins, you can be more at risk if you are pregnant, overweight or older. This is because the veins and the valves in your blood vessels come under more strain. During pregnancy, this additional strain is caused by increased blood flow whilst the valves have to work considerably harder to do their job if you are overweight.

Why should I treat varicose veins?

Some people think that the best way of dealing with varicose veins is to cover up and try not to think about them. However, this is the worst approach! The longer you leave varicose veins untreated, then the greater the potential impact on your mental health. In the long-term, varicose veins can lead to anxiety and depression.

A vein treatment specialist explains that there are also significant medical risks as a result of leaving varicose veins untreated. As the condition is a result of incorrect blood flow, other complications can occur later on such as blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis or ulcers. The biggest risk is pulmonary embolism, when a piece of a blood clot breaks off and travels through the blood stream until it blocks a blood vessel in the lungs, which can be life-threatening.

Some people may believe that varicose veins are a simple fact of growing older and any treatment is futile as the veins will only reappear. This is not the case as the latest techniques ensure that reoccurrences are rare and your varicose veins can be effectively treated once and for all with minimal discomfort or inconvenience.  

What varicose vein treatment is available?

Varicose vein treatment is available year-round, although as these procedures take time it may be too late to treat effectively before your holiday this summer. However, if you start treatment now then you know that these unsightly veins will have vanished in time for your next trip!

It is always advisable to consult a medical professional so you can decide on the best treatment option for you. Endovenous Laser ablation and Radiofrequency ablation are popular heat-based techniques which seal the veins, redirecting blood flow via the healthy veins. Not only do these techniques have very high success rates they also come with a much lower risk of major complications compared to other surgeries.

You may have heard about foam sclerotherapy treatment. This is often the perfect option for smaller veins and requires a chemical to be injected to block the leaky veins. On larger varicose veins or more severe cases a repeat treatment may be necessary.

After varicose vein surgery it is possible to swim and sunbathe after just a few days so your future travel plans will not be affected by treatment.

Ahead of treatment there are also a few simple things you can do to regulate your blood flow and minimize the effects of varicose veins. Compression socks or stockings can improve circulation and provide assistance to overworked blood vessels and valves. Gradient stockings are the most common type of compression socks and work by apply more pressure to the foot rather than higher up the leg, this helps to improve blood flowing back to the heart. As there are a range of different types of compression garments, all with different levels of compression, it is vital that you discuss your needs with a specialist to maximize the impact.

Your circulation can also be weakened during a long-haul flight or an extended stay in hospital. Keeping hydrated and simple exercises such as rotating your feet and ankles and lifting your leg can help to improve blood flow.

Although varicose veins can be uncomfortable and unsightly, don’t be tempted to ignore them and hope for the best. Simple and painless treatments are readily available and can transform your health and confidence almost immediately.

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