What are varicose veins?
Chronic venous insufficiency, also known as varicose veins or varicose veins, are swollen veins caused by abnormal accumulation of blood due to the often inherited weakness in the walls and valves of the superficial veins. This causes the veins to widen and dilate, so that blood easily accumulates when a person stands for a long time.
“When the vein dilates it does not fulfill its function. These are in charge of making the blood return to the heart and that implies that the flow has to go against gravity: from the foot to the heart, ”Andrés García León, director of the area of Vascular Surgery at the Virgen de Virgen University Hospital, explains to CuidatePlus Valme (Seville) and member of the Andalusian Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery. “The veins have valves that prevent the return of that blood flow to the foot and facilitate the rise. However, if the vein is dilated, the valves do not fulfill their function and the flow is reversed, which causes the dilation to increase and problems such as edema, swelling of the leg or, in more advanced stages, ulcers or phlebitis ( thrombosis of a varicose vein), among others.
What is the reason why varicose veins appear?
Among the main causes of the appearance of varicose veins, three stand out.
In the first place, and if it is primary varicose veins, there are the congenitally defective valves. The valves are responsible for circulating blood to the heart, so if they do not work properly, the blood accumulates in the vein causing it to swell.
Thrombophlebitis causes the same effect. In this case, it is thrombi, or what is the same, clots, which make circulation difficult. This situation can occur, for example, after prolonged periods of bed rest.
The third most likely cause of varicose veins is pregnancy. Fortunately, varicose veins that appear during the gestation period are secondary and tend to disappear two to three weeks after delivery.
Is there an effective treatment to combat them?
The pharmacological treatment of varicose veins is focused on alleviating symptoms and preventing the disorder from going further. Some venotonic drugs that are taken by mouth are effective. The most used are Daflon (diosmin), Venosmil (hydrosmin) and Venoruton (oxerutins), among others.
Medicinal plants with venotonic properties can also be a therapeutic option to consider. The most effective are horse chestnut, ruscus, red vine, ginkgo biloba and witch hazel. They are usually administered orally or applied in the form of gels and creams with a cold effect.
To alleviate symptoms, experts recommend the following measurement measures:
Use compression stockings; These garments mechanically help propel blood from the capillaries to the heart, preventing stretching or injury. Despite the discomfort that may arise, its use is especially indicated in the summer months, since with temperatures above 25 degrees there is a risk of worsening of disorders associated with venous return.
- Avoid exposure to the sun for long hours, lying down and without moving, and especially during the hours of maximum heat, which would lead to an intense and prolonged vasodilator effect.
- Apply cold showers on the legs, making the jet impact in ascending circles.
- Use cold effect gels by gently massaging upwards or with venotonic actives.
- Lie down and raise the legs above the level of the heart, after long periods sitting or standing, and when sleeping.
- Avoid being overweight, obese and sedentary.
- Do not wear too tight clothing.
- Use comfortable shoes, dispensing as much as possible with high heels and flat shoes.
- Hydrate the skin daily.
- Use sun protection all year round, as it helps reduce blood extravasation