Varicose veins are superficial swollen, twisted blood vessels and which may be painful. The veins become varicose because of an abnormal collection of blood in them. Varicose veins are usually asymptomatic initially but as time progresses they tend to worsen and become symptomatic.
Here are some facts on prognosis of varicose veins.
- You may not have any symptoms or discomfort in the beginning. People who do not have any symptoms or discomfort do not need treatment. However varicose veins can cause symptoms as time passes and if it is not treated some people may even develop complications. Complications of varicose veins usually start several years after your varicose veins first appear.
- The symptoms and discomfort of varicose veins can be eased with self-care measures such as avoiding standing still for long time, doing exercises regularly, maintaining healthy body weight.
- People with minor signs and symptoms may be advised lifestyle changes such as avoiding standing still for long periods, elevating the legs (that is propping up the legs at or above the level of your heart), doing regular exercises and maintaining healthy body weight.
- People with bothersome symptoms (such as pain in legs, blood clots, or skin ulcers) may need one or more medical procedures. Most treatments for varicose veins are easy to perform and recovery is usually fast. The effectiveness of most treatments for varicose veins is good and resolution of symptoms occurs in >95 per cent of patients.
- If varicose veins are not treated after symptoms start you may develop complications. Some possible complications include phlebitis (chronic inflammation of the vein), formation of leg ulcers (open ulcers), bleeding or rupture of a varicose vein.
Some factors which increase the risk or accelerate the development of varicose veins include:
- Family history: The risk of developing varicose veins is greater if you have a family history of varicose veins.
- Being a woman: Risk of developing varicose veins is greater in women as compared to men. The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone probably cause blood vessels to relax, hence the valves may not close properly to block the back flow of blood.
- Pregnancy: Some women develop varicose veins for the first time during pregnancy when the uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in the legs.
- Being obese: Excess weight increases the pressure on surface veins, and causes them to weaken.
- Standing and sitting: Prolonged standing or sitting still increases the risk of varicose veins.
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