Leg swelling? Tired or discolored legs? You may have varicose vein disease

Introduction

Varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition where veins have difficulty sending blood from your limbs back to your heart. When blood collects in the leg veins and pools due to impaired circulation it is called stasis. CVI is associated with varicose veins and often causes swelling and pain in the legs. CVI affects almost 20 percent of men and 40 percent of women over the age of 50 years.

Causes

CVI is considered a long-term condition which is caused due to partial blocking of veins or leaking around the valves of veins. CVI can be caused due to age, family history, obesity, blood pressure inside the veins, history of deep vein thrombosis in legs, pregnancy, sitting or standing for long periods of time, lack of exercise and smoking.

Symptoms

The commonly seen symptoms of CVI include swelling in legs (especially while standing for long duration), itching or tingling of skin on legs, tiredness, pain in legs, venous stasis ulcers, heaviness and cramping in legs, change in skin color around the ankles (redness), varicose veins on surface (twisted and enlarged) and thickening of skin.

Diagnosis

CVI is diagnosed primarily by physical examination at a varicose vein clinic. Your doctor might recommend Doppler ultrasound imaging to detect improper vein functioning and any blockage of veins by blood clots. CT scan and MRI may be used to rule out any complications of swelling in the leg. Venogram may be recommended to get a clear picture of the blood vessels.

Treatment

Treatment of CVI focuses on reducing the symptoms. Your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Moving legs often and keeping yourself active.
  • Keeping your legs elevated, whenever possible
  • Wearing compression stockings to reduce swelling
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  • Treat any infections and open wounds immediately
  • Lose weight in case you are overweight

In case you have severe CVI then your doctor may suggest the following varicose vein surgeries:

Ablation – This is the standard treatment for varicose veins and there are three options for this:

1. Surgery

2. Heat ablation- commonly called laser or radio frequency

3. Glue ablation- commonly called venaseal or venablock

All three modalities are available at Mediclinic and your vascular surgeon can discuss the pros and cons of all these options with you. All of them are simple, low-risk day case procedures.

The unsightly veins can also be treated by:

1. Sclerotherapy- injection of medicine into the veins to shrink them.

2. NdYag Laser- Laser therapy (very similar to hair removal laser).

At Mediclinic Dubai Mall both these modalities are available and your vascular surgeon will advise you about which one is suitable for you.

Varicose veins and CVI can worsen if left untreated. With varicose vein surgery or laser, simple exercise and change in lifestyle, it can make a difference and keep the symptoms of CVI under control.

To book an appointment, please call 04 449 5111 or email dubaimall@mediclinic.ae