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Varicose Veins - Medical Malpractice
Varicose veins usually occur on the legs and calves. They are enlarged superficial veins that begin to twist and become tortuous in nature. Varicose veins commonly occur because the valves that prevent backflow of the blood as it returns to the heart become damaged and allow blood to flow backwards and stretch out the vein. Veins have no muscles of their own to pump blood back to the heart and rely on the muscles of the legs to do it. If you are obese or have poor muscle tone in your legs, you will increase the pressure in the veins, which easily dilate an become varicose. Varicose veins have poor valves automatically because the vein is too large for the valve to close properly so it becomes a vicious cycle of increased pressure in the veins. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men.
Varicose veins are cosmetically unsightly, purple, blue or red in color and stick out from the surface of the skin. They also are problematic because they ache when standing, sitting or walking. They itch frequently and this can cause ulcerations of the skin. As bad as they look, there are few complications of these types of veins. Because superficial veins only return about ten percent of the blood from the heart when compared to the deep veins, they can be easily removed or treated with ablation therapy.
Varicose veins are not spider veins. Spider veins are small and superficial but are not caused by the same thing as varicose veins, which tend to be much larger and more tortuous than spider veins. Some of the treatment methods used to get rid of these veins are the same, however.
Symptoms of varicose veins include swelling of the ankles, aching and heavy feelings in the legs worse after exercise or at night and itchy skin that can turn red and dry, causing a condition known as stasis dermatitis or venous eczema. This occurs as a result of venous waste products which build up beneath the skin of the leg. You can develop leg cramps quite easily and if you get a minor injury to the area around the veins, it may bleed more than in other areas of your body. The skin can also shrink around the ankle with hardening of the fat around the ankle. Restless legs syndrome is one of the more common secondary conditions that arise out of getting varicose veins.
Most of the time, varicose veins are just unsightly but they can hinder you on the job if you stand for long periods of time. You can develop poor circulation to the legs and skin ulcers as secondary complications. These are called "venous ulcers". In rare cases (less than 1 percent), you can get a cancer called a sarcoma developing in venous ulcers that are not treated or removed. In the elderly, severe bleeding from a broken varicose vein can be dangerous. You can also get a clot more easily in a varicose vein and this can lead to superficial thrombophlebitis. The leg becomes red, hot and painful or itchy and needs heat treatment and blood thinners in some cases.
There are seven stages of varicose veins. C0 occurs when you have no obvious signs of the disease. C1 is when you have telangectasia or small veins. C2 is when you have true varicose veins. C3 is when you have swelling of the legs associated with varicose veins and C4 is when you have darkly pigmented skin over the veins or venous stasis dermatitis. C5 is when you have healed ulcers on the skin. C6 is when you have active ulcers in your skin.
Things that are causative to varicose veins include heredity, being female, being pregnant, being obese, undergoing menopause and getting older. If you stand for long periods of time or have a leg injury, you can get varicose veins more likely. Those who cross their legs get more varicose veins and those who have arteriovenous malformations are more likely to get varicose veins.
The treatment of varicose veins includes keeping the legs up and wearing compression stockings to put pressure on the superficial veins. Losing weight can help prevent varicose veins and some natural remedies including flavonoids can decrease the risk of varicose veins. Certain anti inflammatory medications can be given to control the pain of the disease and aspirin can thin the blood so that you don't get blood clots within the veins.
More active treatments for varicose veins include procedures such as endovenous laser therapy, radiofrequency ablation therapy, sclerotherapy and surgical remedies such as vein stripping.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here