Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins, usually blue or dark purple, that usually occur on the legs. They may also be lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.
Other symptoms include:
- Aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Muscle cramp in your legs
- Dry skin and colour changes in the lower leg
Why do varicose veins happen?
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through. If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose).
Who is affected?
Varicose veins are a common condition, affecting up to 3 in 10 adults. Women are more likely to develop them than men. Any vein in the body can become varicose, but they most commonly develop in the legs and feet, particularly in the calves. This is because standing and walking puts extra pressure on the veins in the lower body.
Treating varicose veins
Treatment of varicose veins is usually necessary if it causes pain or discomfort or if it creates complications like leg ulcers, swelling or skin discolouration. The foremost treatment a doctor recommends is using compression stocking for upto six months, taking regular exercise and elevating the affected area when resting.
PROVENO Compression stocking are specially designed to steadily squeeze your legs to improve circulation. They are tighter at the ankle and get gradually looser as they go further up the leg. This encourages blood to flow upwards towards the heart. PROVENO stocking helps relieve the pain, discomfort and swelling in the legs caused by varicose veins.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, UK (NICE) recommends using compression stocking as a long-term treatment for varicose veins. For pregnant women who have varicose veins, NICE advises the usage of compression stocking for the duration of the pregnancy. Compression stocking is available in a variety of different sizes and pressures. Most people with varicose veins will be prescribed a class 1 (light compression) or class 2 (medium compression) stocking.
You may need to wear compression stocking for the rest of your life if you have deep venous incompetence. Deep venous incompetence is due to problems with the valves, or blockages, in the deep veins in the legs. In these circumstances, compression stocking has to be worn even if there had been a surgery to treat varicose veins.