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Varicose veins are defined as veins that are more than 3mm in diameter. They are usually palpable.
What causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a genetic condition. The actual cause is related to a change in the amount of collagen in a vein wall. Hormones may influence the progression of veins in some individuals. Veins in the leg transport blood back to the heart, against gravity, and to prevent backflow there are valves within the veins. If these valves do not work there is ‘backflow’ of blood which distends the veins resulting in varicose veins, fluid retention and other symptoms.
This increased pressure is known as venous hypertension. As the pressure increases, these veins become more dilated and subsequently become visible as 'varicose veins'.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Common symptoms of varicose veins include leg pain, swollen ankles and feet, itching, heavy legs, tired and aching legs especially towards the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
Varicose Veins Treatment
The treatment of varicose veins has advanced significantly over the past couple of decades. Traditional treatment was invasive surgery that involved vein stripping with long recovery periods.
There are now minimally invasive techniques that treat veins and can mostly be done out of main theatre, under local anaesthetic and without the need for skin incisions or sutures.
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