Causes of varicose veins
The main cause of varicose veins is a hereditary defect in vein valves that are either defective or missing. Sometimes a minor dysfunction in these valves becomes evident only in combination when other causative factors happen such as physical work, pregnancy, excess weight or aging. There is clear evidence that varicose veins tend to appear in people in their thirties and the incidence of the disease increases gradually with age.
When vein valves fail and people are standing up, blood circulates downwards (reflux) and forms small pools inside the veins. The subsequently stretch and cause the next valve below to break. At the end of this domino effect more and more valves fall apart, producing increased vein blood pressure and enlarged and twisted veins. This increased pressure is transmitted to the skin and superficial tissue layers leading to swelling, skin discoloration and in some cases eventually ulceration.
The diagnosis of varicose veins starts with a physical examination and some additional tests, such as Duplex Ultrasound that provides all the necessary information to evaluate the venous leg circulation. This test is non-invasive and allows the physician to assess in detail the morphology and function, in real time, of the leg veins.
Duplex Ultrasound is also crucial during the Microfoam Sclerotherapy procedure since the physician can control and evaluate the progression of the Microfoam inside the veins. He/ She can also evaluate how the treatment is progressing and confirm that the varicose veins treated have been eliminated.
Can varicose veins be prevented?
As stated before, the cause of varicose veins is mainly hereditary though there are other factors that can aggravate the disease. Some of these conditions can be avoided or minimized such us preventing excess weight or standing for long periods of time. It is advisable to have a healthy lifestyle and to eat properly, exercising regularly and using compression stockings during pregnancy. Phlebotonic medication provides symptomatic relief in some patients.