Varicose Veins
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Learn about the causes of Varicose Veins & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Varicose Veins within New Zealand.

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Varicose veins are veins that visibly bulge due to pools of blood not circulating properly. Varicose veins are typically found on the legs just under the skin's surface. Causes of varicose veins may be from weak valves unable to prevent blood backflow, weakness of the vein wall, hormonal issues or family history. Symptoms of varicose veins include aching limbs and in severe cases ulcers or rupture of the vein itself.

 

Causes of varicose veins Varicose Veins | The Wellness Directory

Varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins don't function properly. The body's circulatory system comprises of arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart and veins return the blood back to the heart. Veins work against gravity and so muscles in the leg contract,  working as a pump to return the blood toward the heart.

Inside the veins are one-way valves which allow blood to pass through but close to stop it flowing back. If the walls of the veins stretch, the valves become weak and blood leaks backwards collecting in the vein and causing it to become swollen.


Why these valves weaken is unclear but certain factors increase the risk of someone developing varicose veins. These include:

  • Gender – women have an increased chance of developing varicose veins. This may be due to hormones which relax the vein walls making them more elastic and weakening the valves.
  • Genetics – a family history of the condition increases the likelihood of developing varicose veins
  • Age – as the body ages, veins lose elasticity which weakens the valves
  • Weight – being overweight places greater pressure on the veins making them work harder and making them prone to leaking blood backwards
  • Occupation – jobs that involve standing for long periods of time may prevent blood from flowing easily back to the heart increasing the risk of getting varicose veins
  • Pregnancy – during pregnancy, extra strain is placed on the circulatory system to provide enough blood for both mother and child. Hormone levels also increase causing blood vessels to relax. Also, as the womb grows, extra pressure on the veins in the pelvis can cause them to become varicose.

Symptoms of varicose veins

Varicose veins usually appear on the back of the calf or the inside leg and are purple or blue in colour. The vein bulges and looks twisted in appearance. In many cases, the vein does not cause any pain but some people with severe varicose veins do experience discomfort.

Other symptoms may include:

  • aching legs
  • swollen feet
  • swollen ankles
  • burning sensation in the legs
  • leg cramps (typically at night)
  • dry skin over the vein
  • itchy skin over the vein
Symptoms often worsen when standing for long periods or in warmer weather. Varicose veins can also appear in other parts of the body such as:
  • the oesophagus
  • the womb
  • the vagina
  • the pelvis area
  • the rectum

Diagnosis of varicose veins
 
A visit to the GP may not be necessary if your varicose veins do not cause any pain or discomfort and the condition does not usually require treatment.

If you are experience problems, your GP will perform a physical examination of the veins and if necessary will refer you to a vein specialist.


There are tests which can investigate varicose veins such as a doppler test and a colour duplex ultrasound scan.

  • Doppler test – this involves using ultrasound to identify how well the valves in the veins are working while also testing for any blood clots or obstructions.
  • Colour duplex ultrasound test – this test uses colour imaging of the vein's structure so the vascular specialist can identify any abnormalities.


*Source: GoToSee.co.uk



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