Varicose veins & spider veins are amongst the most common leg conditions seen in day to day life. Approximately 40% of the population over the age of 30 suffers from some level of varicose veins. Most of the cases are still underdiagnosed or overlooked due to a lack of awareness.
WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?
Varicose veins & spider veins are visibly prominent bluish-purple veins under the skin of the legs. These commonly develop due to faulty valves in the veins which are unable to pump the blood efficiently, causing stagnation of the blood in the legs and effectively leading to popping out of the veins.
Varicose veins can cause more than just aesthetic symptoms. These can cause heaviness, swelling, itching in the leg, and sometimes they can be downright painful, with the symptoms worsening at the end of the day.
Risk factors for Varicose Veins include- Genetics, Obesity, Smoking or tobacco chewing & Pregnancy, along with the limited physical activity. It is more commonly seen in women as compared to men. Apart from these, lifestyle and occupation have a major role as well. Those who either sit or stand for a long time are at higher risk for developing Varicose veins.
In the current era where a lot of importance is given to the appearances to showcase one’s personality, it is imperative to know if any of your fashion habits are harming your body, especially your clothing and footwear.
Wearing tightly fitting clothes like skinny jeans or slim fits can cause restriction of the venous circulation of the legs causing further stagnation of the blood and worsening of the Varicose veins.
Girdles are usually quite tight, agreed that they give a good result aesthetically but they do that at the expense of putting a significant amount of pressure on the abdomen; which is eventually transmitted to the leg veins. Even the pants which are too tight around the waist can cause compression around the pelvis and increase in overall abdominal pressure ultimately restricting the normal, healthy blood flow.
Shifting from skinny tight jeans to more comfortable, baggy clothes is probably the best gift you can give to the veins of your legs as they won’t restrict the circulation. If you still want to go for skinny fitting clothes, tights or leggings are somewhat agreeable as they are more elastic.
When it comes to it, improper footwear can cause a lot of health issues and not just for your back but also your leg veins. Especially if you are a fan of high heels and use it frequently, you are pushing your Varicose veins into a downward spiral. High heels change your normal gait & shift your body weight to your forefoot & toes. This puts the calf muscle under undue stress and keeps them in the state of constant contraction which leads to suboptimal pumping of the blood thus leading to pooling of the blood and worsening of the Varicose veins.
Lifestyle modifications go a long way in managing the Varicose veins. Maintaining overall healthy habits, being physically active and keeping the weight in check helps curb the disease progression.
Compression stockings provide gentle support to the leg veins and help to push the blood from the veins towards the heart. The use of compression stockings in the early stages is valuable. If you’ve already noticed the signs of venous disease, like visible spider veins, the use of compression stockings may impede the evolution to more severe symptoms.
Surgical interventions for Varicose veins have undergone an exceptional transformation, from open surgical procedures earlier, to minimally invasive Laser & Radio Frequency Ablation using heat to close the veins from the inside. In recent times, Glue like material is used to close the vein by sticking instead of burning.
These newer methods provide desired results with minimal discomfort and risk to the patient.
(Disclaimer: Dr.RohitBasapure, MD, Consultant at The Vein Center)