The Belfast Vein Clinic
Mr Denis Harkin MD FRCS FEBVS, Consultant Vascular Surgeon
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Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

 

Varicose veins are distended branches of the major veins in the leg. They become distended due to failure of the valves in the main veins which allows blood to fall back down the leg (reflux). Venous reflux is the major cause of most venous diseases and is almost always the cause of varicose veins. Varicose veins develop in the superficial veins of the leg and mainly affect the great saphenous vein (medial thigh and calf), although they may also affect the small saphenous vein (posterior calf).

 

 

The specific causes of vein problems are undetermined and will vary according to the individual. Contributing factors may include:

 

 

  • Family History

     

  • Female Gender & Pregnancy

     

  • Lifestyle

     

  • Age

     

Preventing Varicose Veins

 

No measure is guaranteed to prevent the development of varicose veins. However, the following lifestyle adjustments may reduce the symptoms and risk of complications.

 

  • Exercise Regularly

     

  • Support/compression stockings

     

  • Avoid excessive heat on legs

     

  • Elevate the legs

     

  • Healthy diet

     

  • Maintain a healthy weight

     

Complications

 

In the past varicose veins were thought of as only cosmetic. We now know that they are symptomatic of an underlying venous problem that may lead to more serious conditions:

 

  • Pain

     

  • Ankle swelling

     

  • Brown staining of the skin

     

  • Venous eczema

     

  • Lipodermatosclerosis

     

  • Thrombophlebitis

     

  • Leg ulcers.

     









 

 

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