Varicose Veins

Varicose veins in the legs are blood vessels that become swollen and twisted because of an impairment of the internal valves that normally assure proper blood flow. Varicose veins most commonly develop in the lower legs.  In some cases, they cause discomfort and increase the risk of leg ulcers and phlebitis, which entail inflammation and clot formation.  In normal veins, the valves found in the veins keep blood moving forward toward the heart.  With varicose veins, these valves do not function properly, resulting in blood remaining in the veins.  The result is pooling of blood in the veins, which causes them to enlarge or dilate.  This usually occurs in the veins of the legs.  Varicose veins are not uncommon, and affect mostly women between ages 30 and 60. There are many factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins, and their underlying cause is unclear.  The dominant factors include family history, age, pregnancy, and obesity.  Contrary to popular beliefs, jobs that require prolonged standing do not necessarily contribute to the onset of varicose veins, although long periods of standing aggravate the condition once it develops.  If you have varicose veins, you should refrain from standing still for long periods of time and avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time.  Walking, cycling, or swimming are particularly beneficial leg exercises for people with varicose veins.

Varicose Veins

The most important factor in the management of varicose veins is the reduction of the hydrostatic pressure within the veins.  This can be accomplished by a precisely fitted pressure gradient stocking, which may be purchased at Careway Wellness Center, both online or at the retail store in Woburn, Massachusetts.  An excellent brand name is Jobst®.  These stockings do not require a prescription, however, measurements of your legs should be made to assure proper fit and comfort.  The support stockings must be put on first thing in the morning when the legs are free from swelling. Once varicose veins develop, they usually progressively worsen and become more prominent.  Symptoms in women tend to worsen during pregnancy.  In these cases, sitting    or lying down with legs elevated usually brings relief.  Varicose veins are usually not dangerous, and can be managed by wearing a pressure gradient elastic stocking such as those marketed by Jobst®.  These stockings are also known as compression hosiery because of their pressure gradient properties..  Lying down with the legs elevated usually brings relief, and reduces swelling of the ankles.  However, if circulation is seriously impaired, skin ulcers may occur, and even more seriously, if the walls of the vein become inflamed, the risk of phlebitis may be present.  In such instances, always consult a physician.

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