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Varicose Veins (cont.)

Varicose Veins Prevention

A person cannot change his or her genes, but a person can keep weight under control, exercise, eat a healthy diet high in fiber, and try to stick to loose comfortable clothing when possible. If an individual is genetically destined to develop varicose veins, they may appear despite all the best efforts.

TED (thromboembolism-deterrent) stockings are the best nonsurgical treatment of varicose veins. They prevent skin breakdown and worsening of the varicosities. Most people have decreased swelling in their feet and less tiredness at the end of the day when using TED stockings.

Varicose Veins Prognosis

Varicose veins that a person has now will not go away unless treated, such as sclerotherapy or ligation and stripping. At times the veins may seem more prominent, such as in warm weather. However, once they appear, they will not go away on their own.

Prevention is the key. The earlier a person starts the lifestyle modifications outlined in the Self-Care at Home discussed previously, the better the chances of preventing new varicose veins from forming. In some cases, varicose veins may be one stage in the continuum of chronic poor vein functioning.

Some people may progress from having no symptoms, to the development of varicose veins, and then on to problems with leg swelling, and finally to ulcers caused by stagnant blood flow.

  • A small number of these people will have deep vein clots as a cause for their signs and symptoms, but most will not.
  • The more severe problems, such as skin ulcers, tend to be very difficult to prevent completely. Once these ulcers occur, they are very difficult to cure.
  • Even when they are eliminated, these ulcers tend to recur

A deep vein blood clot has the potential to travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lung. This is called a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism does not occur from varicose veins.

  • Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, because the blood clot can interrupt the circulation of blood.
  • Common symptoms of pulmonary embolism are chest pain and shortness of breath.

Varicose Veins Pictures

The venous blood system in the leg.
The venous blood system in the leg. Click to view larger image.

Varicose veins. Photo provided by
Varicose veins. Photo provided by

Varicose veins, mild.
Varicose veins, mild. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Paul Skudder, Jr., MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialties in Vascular Surgery and Surgical Critical Care

REFERENCE: MescapeReference. Varicose Veins and Spider Veins.

Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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Varicose Veins »

The description of varicose veins as a clinical entity can be traced back as early as the fifth century BC.

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