Chances are, the term ‘varicosities’ isn’t something that many people have come across, yet it’s a technical term for something that affects around 22 million American women between the ages of 40 and 80 every single year – varicose veins.
What are varicose veins (varicosities) and how do they occur?
A varicosity or varicose vein is a dilated vein that primarily occurs in the lower limbs particularly in the legs. Noticeable by their swollen and enlarged appearance, they are often distinguished by their lumpy, bulging or twisted appearance They may be dark purple or blue in color and typical symptoms include aching, uncomfortable or heavy legs.
So what causes varicosities?
The primary function of any vein is to pump or carry blood from the extremities of the body back to the heart. Each vein contains a vein valve and this ensures that any blood flows in one direction (upwards) back towards the heart.
It’s a bit like a one-way traffic system whereby any blood that is moved around the body does so in the same continual direction. So, when a vein valve malfunctions, gravity can cause blood to flow in the opposite direction. As it does so, it clashes with blood flowing in the correct direction causing a traffic jam or ‘pooling’ of blood in the vein. The end result is something that appears swollen and enlarged.
It’s thought that one cause of weakened vein values is aging. As we age, vein values tend to lose their elasticity and strength – hence the reason why people (primarily women) over the age of 40 are more susceptible to varicose vein problems.
Are varicosities life threatening?
It’s important to understand that varicosities are not in themselves a life-threatening condition. However, if left untreated, then they can go on to cause an array of serious health complications. One study, for example, showed that people with varicose veins are 5 times more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Other conditions include restless leg syndrome (RSL), May-Thurner Syndrome, and chronic ulceration. Because ulcers don’t heal on their own without medical intervention, they are prone to infection which can result in amputation and even death if not treated. Therefore while there is nothing to be concerned about initially, varicose veins should be considered more than just a cosmetic nuisance, and medical help should be sought in order to treat them.
How do medical professionals treat varicose veins?
The good news is that there are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments designed to treat both larger and smaller varicosities. Vein ligation and stripping, for example, is a minor surgical technique used to remove larger damaged veins and prevent further complications. While endovenous ablations – otherwise known as laser or radiofrequency treatments, are non-surgical approaches designed to heat-seal the veins shut. Once the vein is sealed it eventually dies and gets reabsorbed harmlessly back into the body.
Smaller veins are typically treated using a process known as sclerotherapy. This process involves incorporating a harmless liquid into the vein via a tiny catheter which, in turn, destroys the vein from the inside. The body will again absorb the dead vein back into the body over a short period of time and blood flow is simply redirected.
Here at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), Dr. Goke Akinwande and his team provide the very latest non-surgical methods including endovenous ablations, sclerotherapy and Venaseal treatments to treat a wide range of varicosities using safe, proven and effective methods. Patients are treated in state of the art comfortable treatment rooms at one of four contemporary clinics in the St Louis, Creve Coeur, Bridgeton and Kirkwood areas.
So if you are suffering from varicosities (varicose veins) and would like to find out how they can be removed using comfortable non-surgical treatments, then contact Dr. Akinwande and his team to talk about your options or schedule an appointment online.