Vascular Diseases And Their Details

Any patient suffering with hypertension carries a higher risk for renal diseases. In the first phase, the patient’s body shows almost no symptoms of renal diseases. If avoided or not taken care of, the disease reaches the second stage that makes the patient suffer renal insufficiency. The person loses around 75 percent of glomerular function and might start feeling the renal disease effects like mild hyperkalemia or anemia. If proper care isn’t rendered at this stage as well it can lead to next stage that may lead to development of chronic renal failure.

The reason behind all these problems is vascular resistance in sclerosed vessels that pressurizes the blood to enter glomerulus with high speed. This causes severe damage to the glomerular membrane.
The injured membrane loses all its ability to filter entering elements and leads to necrosis of tubules. Hypertension also disturbs the reninangiotensin-aldosterone system causing ischemia and low supply of blood volume to kidneys. Sodium and water reabsorption increases to enhance the glomerular filtration rate leading to higher vascular pressure and volume overload that causes sclerosis in the glomeruli.

Peripheral Vascular Disease – Facts and information

The term peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is commonly used to refer to peripheral artery disease (PAD). This is the narrowing or occlusion by atherosclerotic plaques of arteries outside of the heart and brain.
Risk factors for PAD include:

  • elevated blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • hypertension
  • inactivity
  • overweight/obesity
    People who suffer from peripheral artery disease are usually over the age of 50. The symptoms of PAD depend upon the location and extent of the blocked arteries. The most common symptom of peripheral artery disease is intermittent claudication, manifested by pain (usually in the calf) that occurs while walking and dissipates at rest.

Seeing professionals about PAD process

After taking patient’s medical history and performing physical examinations, doctors may use noninvasive haemodynamic tests including segmental pressure measurements, pulse volume recordings, and Ankle Brachial indexes. Doctors may also arrange an activity stress test alongside an anklebrachial file and heartbeat volume recording. Amid the test, the patient activities he creates can cause critical claudication. At that point an ankle brachial record is performed by taking systolic blood weights in the lower leg and arm all the while. Serious claudication causes a noteworthy distinction between the lower leg and brachial blood weights amid low level activity. Pulse volume recordings are recorded in the meantime as the ankle brachial index. In the event that the patient has noteworthy impediments, the volume’s magnitude will be reduced, and the stature of its shape will be diminished.

In Australia and New Zealand, equipment for those tests is supplied by MedTech Edge (www.medtechedge.com), a well known vascular medical devices company.

Further examinations may include Doppler ultrasound and angiography if required to aid in the diagnosis of peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease can be treated by lifestyle alterations, medications, angioplasty with or without stent and surgery. A combination of treatment methods may be used.

Complications of peripheral artery disease include sores that do not heal, ulcers, gangrene, or infections in the extremities. In some cases, amputation may be necessary. Having peripheral artery disease usually indicates the potential for arterial disease in other parts of the body, such as the coronary arteries in the hart and cerebral arteries in the brain.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a gradual process whereby hard cholesterol substances (plaques) are deposited in the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol plaques cause hardening of the artery walls and narrowing of the inner channel (lumen) of the artery. The atherosclerosis process begins early in life (as early as teens in some people). When atherosclerosis is mild and the arteries are not substantially narrowed, atherosclerosis causes no symptoms. Therefore, many adults typically are unaware that their arteries are gradually accumulating cholesterol plaques. But when atherosclerosis becomes advanced with aging, it can cause critical narrowing of the arteries resulting in tissue ischemia (lack of blood and oxygen).

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Arteries that are narrowed by advanced atherosclerosis can cause life threatening diseases in different organs.

Advanced Atherosclerosis – Risks

Advanced atherosclerosis of the carotid and cerebral arteries (arteries that supply blood to the brain) can lead to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and strokes. Advanced atherosclerosis in the lower extremities can also lead to:

  • pain while walking or exercising (claudication)
  • deficient wound healing
  • leg ulcers

Atherosclerosis is often generalized, meaning it affects arteries throughout the body. Therefore, patients with heart attacks are also more likely to develop strokes and peripheral vascular disease, and vice versa.

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How does atherosclerosis cause disease symptoms?

There are two ways atherosclerosis causes disease;
(1) atherosclerosis can limit the ability of the narrowed arteries to increase delivery of blood and oxygen to tissues during periods of increased oxygen demand such as during exertion,
OR;
(2) complete obstruction of an artery by a thrombus or embolus (thrombus and embolus are forms of blood clots; see below) resulting in tissue necrosis (death of tissue) if there is no enough collaterals.
Exertional angina and intermittent claudication are two examples of insufficient delivery of blood and oxygen to meet tissue demand; whereas strokes and heart attacks are examples of death of tissue caused by complete artery obstruction by blood clots.

Similarities between Coronary Artery Disease and Peripheral Artery Disease

There are many similarities between coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis involving the arteries of the heart) and peripheral artery disease, and the two conditions may coexist in the same individual.
For example, patients with exertional angina typically have no symptoms at rest. But during exertion the critically narrowed coronary arteries are incapable of increasing blood and oxygen delivery to meet the increased oxygen needs of the heart muscles.
Lack of blood and oxygen causes chest pain (exertional angina). Exertional angina typically subsides when the patient rests. In patients with intermittent claudication, the narrowed arteries in the lower extremities (for example, a narrowed artery at the groin) cannot increase blood and oxygen delivery to the calf muscles during walking. These patients experience pain in the calf muscles that will only subside after resting.

Patients with unstable angina have critically narrowed coronary arteries that cannot deliver enough blood and oxygen to the heart muscle even at rest. These patients have chest pain at rest and are at imminent risk of developing heart attacks. Patients with severe artery occlusion in the legs can develop rest pain (usually in the feet). Rest pain represents such severe occlusion that there is insufficient blood supply to the feet even at rest. They are at risk of developing foot ulcers and gangrene.

When the arteries are narrowed as a result of atherosclerosis, blood tends to clot in the narrowed areas, forming a so-called thrombus (plural thrombi). Sometimes pieces of the thrombi break off and travel in the bloodstream until they are trapped in a narrower point in the artery beyond which they cannot pass. A thrombus or piece of thrombus that travels to another point is called an embolus. Thrombi and emboli can cause sudden and complete artery blockage, leading to tissue necrosis (death of tissue).

For example, complete blockage of a coronary artery by a thrombus causes heart attack, while complete blockage of a carotid or cerebral artery causes ischemic stroke. Emboli originating from atherosclerosis in the aorta (the main artery delivering blood to the body) can obstruct small arteries in the feet. This can result in:

  • painful and blue (cyanotic) toes
  • foot ulcers
  • gangrene.

What are collaterals?

Sometimes, despite the presence of a severe blockage in an artery, the involved area does not become painful or ischemic due to the presence of collateral vessels. Collateral circulation means that the particular area is supplied by more than one artery to an extent that blockage of a single vessel does not result in a severe degree of ischemia. Collateral circulation can develop over time to help provide oxygenated blood to an area where an artery is narrowed or occluded. Doctors believe that regular supervised exercise can stimulate the growth and development of collateral circulation and relieve symptoms of intermittent claudication.

What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?

In severe cases, the decreased circulation to the extremities can lead to open sores that do not heal, ulcers, gangrene, or other injuries to the extremities. These areas that do not receive adequate blood flow are also more prone to develop infections and, in extreme cases, amputation may be necessary.

What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?

A number of conditions such as vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels, occurring either as a primary condition or associated with connective tissue diseases such as lupus) may cause damage to blood vessels throughout the body. Injuries to blood vessels (from accidents such as auto accidents or sports injuries), blood-clotting disorders, and damage to blood vessels during surgery can also lead to tissue ischemia.

Tissue ischemia can also occur in the absence of atherosclerosis or other abnormalities of arteries. One example of a condition in which the blood vessels themselves are not damaged is Raynaud’s disease, which is believed to occur due to spasms in blood vessels brought on by stress, tobacco smoking, or a cold environment.

Since atherosclerosis of the peripheral arteries (PAD) is by far the most common cause of peripheral vascular disease, the rest of this article focuses upon peripheral artery disease.

Who is at risk for peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease (or peripheral arterial disease) is a common condition that affects approximately ten million adults in the U.S. About 5% of people over the age of 50 are believed to suffer from peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease is slightly more common in men than in women and most often occurs in older persons (over the age of 50). The known risk factors for peripheral artery disease are those that predispose to the development of atherosclerosis. Risk factors for peripheral artery disease include:

  • High blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Low blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes mellitus (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) or a family historyof hypertension
  • A family history of atherosclerotic disease
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Physical inactivity

In peripheral artery disease, the risk factors are additive, so that a person with a combination of two risk factors — diabetes and smoking, for example — has an increased likelihood of developing more severe peripheral artery disease than a person with only one risk factor.

What are the symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease?

Approximately half of people with peripheral artery disease do not experience any symptoms. For patients with symptoms, the most common symptoms are intermittent claudication, and rest pain in more severe cases.

Intermittent claudication refers to arm or leg pain or cramping that occurs with exercise and subsides with rest. The severity and location of the pain of intermittent claudication vary depending upon the location and extent of blockage of the involved artery. The most common location of intermittent claudication is the calf muscle of the leg, leading to leg pain while walking. The pain in the calf muscle occurs only during exercise such as walking, and the pain steadily increases with continued walking until the patient has to stop due to intolerable pain. Then the pain quickly subsides during rest. Intermittent claudication can affect one or both legs.Rest pain occurs when the artery occlusion is so critical that there is not enough blood and oxygen supply to the lower extremities even at rest and represents a more serious form of the condition. The pain typically affects the feet, is usually severe, and occurs at night when the patient assumes a supine position (lying down, face up).

  • Rest pain occurs when the artery occlusion is so critical that there is not enough blood and oxygen supply to the lower extremities even at rest and represents a more serious form of the condition. The pain typically affects the feet, is usually severe, and occurs at night when the patient assumes a supine position (lying down, face up).

Other symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease include:

  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Weakness and atrophy (diminished size and strength) of the calf muscle
  • A feeling of coldness in the legs or feet
  • Changes in color of the feet; feet turn pale when they are elevated, and turn dusky red in dependent position
  • Hair loss over the dorsum of the feet and thickening of the toenails
  • Painful ulcers and/or gangrene in tissue where there is critical ischemia; typically in the toes

How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?

During a physical examination, the doctor may look for signs that are indicative of peripheral artery disease, including weak or absent artery pulses in the extremities, specific sounds (called bruits) that can be heard over the arteries with a stethoscope, changes in blood pressure in the limbs at rest and/or after exercise (treadmill test), and skin color and nail changes due to tissue ischemia. In addition to the history of symptoms and the physical signs of peripheral artery disease described above, doctors can use non-invasive and invasive tests in the diagnosis of peripheral artery disease. These tests include:

  • Doppler ultrasound – This form of ultrasound (measurement of high-frequency sound waves that are reflected off of tissues) that can detect and measure blood flow. Doppler ultrasound is used to measure blood pressures behind the knees and at the ankles. In patients with significant peripheral artery disease in the legs, the blood pressures in the ankles will be lower than the blood pressure in the arms (brachial blood pressure). The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a number derived from dividing the ankle blood pressure by the brachial blood pressure. An ABI of 0.9 to 1.3 is normal, an ABI less than 0.9 indicates the presence of peripheral artery disease in the arteries in the legs, and an ABI below 0.5 usually indicates severe arterial occlusion in the legs. In Australia and New Zealand, ABI equipment for those tests is supplied by MedTech Edge (www.medtechedge.com), a well known medical devices company.
  • Duplex ultrasound – This is a colour assisted noninvasive technique to study the arteries. Ultrasound probes can be placed on the skin overlying the arteries and can accurately detect the site of artery obstruction as well as measure the degree of stenosis.
  • Angiography – A peripheral angiography is an imaging procedure to study the blood vessels of the extremeties, similar to the way a coronary angiogram provides an image of the blood vessels supplying the heart. It is the most accurate test to detect the location(s) and severity of artery occlusive disease, as well as collateral circulations. Small hollow plastic tubes (catheters) are advanced from a small skin puncture at the groin (or the arm), under X-ray guidance, to the aorta and the arteries. Iodine contrast “dye”, is then injected into the arteries while an X-ray video is recorded. Angiogram gives the doctor a picture of the location and severity of narrowed or occluded artery segments. This information is important in helping the doctor select patients for angioplasty or surgical bypass (see below).
  • Because X-ray angiography is invasive with potential side effects (such as injury to blood vessels and contrast reactions), it is not used for initial diagnosis of peripheral artery disease. It is only used when a patient with severe peripheral artery disease symptoms is considered for angioplasty or surgery. A number of different imaging methods have been used in angiography examinations, including X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) angiography uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures and has the advantage of avoiding X-ray radiation exposure.

What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?

Treatment goals for peripheral artery disease include:

  • Relieve the pain of intermittent claudication.
  • Improve exercise tolerance by increasing the walking distance before the onset of claudication.
  • Prevent critical artery occlusion that can lead to foot ulcers, gangrene, and amputation.

Treatment of peripheral artery disease includes lifestyle measures, supervised exercises, medications, angioplasty, and surgery.

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Lifestyle changes:

  • Smoking cessation eliminates a major risk factor for disease progression and lowers the incidences of rest pain and need for amputations. Smoking cessation is also important for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
  • A healthy diet can help lower blood cholesterol and other lipid levels and may help control blood pressure.
  • Keep other risk factors, such as diabetes, lipid levels, and blood pressure under control by following medical advice regarding medications and lifestyle changes.

Supervised exercise:

Proper exercise can condition the muscles to use oxygen effectively and can speed the development of collateral circulation. Clinical trials have demonstrated that regular supervised exercise can reduce symptoms of intermittent claudication and allow the patients to walk longer before the onset of claudication. Ideally, exercise programs should be prescribed by the doctor. Patients should be enrolled in rehabilitation programs supervised by healthcare professionals such as nurses or physiotherapists. For optimal results, patients should exercise at least three times a week, each session lasting longer than 30 to 45 minutes. Exercise usually involves walking on a monitored treadmill until claudication develops; walking time is then gradually increased with each session. Patients are also monitored for the development of chest pain or heart rhythm irregularities during exercise.

Peripheral vascular disease medications

While lifestyle changes may be enough treatment for some people with peripheral artery disease, others may require medication. Examples of medications used to treat peripheral artery disease include antiplatelet or anticlotting agents, cholesterol-lowering drugs, medications that increase blood supply to the extremities such, and medications that control high blood pressure.

  • Antiplatelet medications make the blood platelets less likely to stick to one another to form blood clots. Low dose aspirin (81 to 325 mg/day) is usually prescribed indefinitely because it is also helpful in preventing strokes and heart attacks in patients with peripheral artery disease. Alternative to aspirin is available for those who are allergic or cannot tolerate aspirin. Antiplatelet medications also help prevent occlusion of blood vessels after angioplasty or bypass surgery.
  • Anticoagulant medications act to prevent blood clotting. Anticoagulants are sometimes prescribed for people with peripheral artery disease if they are at increased risk for formation of blood clots; these agents are used much less frequently than anti platelet agents in patients with peripheral artery disease
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs of the statin family have been shown in numerous large clinical trials to help prevent heart attacks and strokes and prolong survival among patients with atherosclerosis. Statins have also been shown to slow the progression of peripheral artery disease, decrease arthrosclerosis in the arteries, and improve claudication symptoms
  • Cilostazol (Pletal) is a medication that can help increase physical activity (enabling one to walk a greater distance without the pain of claudication). Cilostazol works by causing dilation of the arteries and an increased supply of oxygenated blood to be delivered to the arms and legs. Cilostazol is recommended for some patients with claudication when lifestyle modifications and exercise are ineffective. Cilostazol should be taken on an empty stomach either a half an hour before or two hours after meals. High fat meals, grapefruit juice, and certain medications such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and diltiazem (Cardizem) can increase the absorption, and hence, the blood levels of cilostazol. Side effects are generally mild that includeheadache, diarrhea, and dizziness. Cilostazol should not be used in patients with heart failure because of concern over increased mortality in heart failure patients using medications similar to cilostazol
  • Pentoxifylline improves blood flow to the extremities by decreasing the viscosity (“stickiness”) of blood, enabling more efficient blood flow. Side effects are fewer than with cilostazol, but its benefits are weaker and have not been conclusively proven by all studies
  • Drugs to control hypertension may also be prescribed. Current recommendations are to treat hypertension in patients with peripheral artery disease to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Angioplasty for peripheral vascular disease

Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that can widen a narrowed or blocked artery. A thin tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in the groin or arm and advanced to the area of narrowing. A tiny balloon on the tip of the catheter is then inflated to enlarge the narrowing in the artery. This procedure is also commonly performed to dilate narrowed areas in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Sometimes the catheter technique is used to insert a stent (a cylindrical wire mesh tube) into the affected area of the artery to keep the artery open. In other cases, thrombolytic medications (medications that dissolve blood clots) may be delivered to the blocked area via a catheter. Angioplasty does not require general anesthesia and may be performed by an interventional radiologist, cardiologist, or vascular surgeon. Usually, a local anesthetic at the area of catheter insertion and a mild sedative are given. Major complications of angioplasty are rare, but can occur. These include damage to the artery or blood clot formation, excessive bleeding from the catheter insertion site, and abrupt vessel closure (blockage of the treated area occurring within 24 hours of the procedure).

Despite these risks, the overall incidence of complications is low and the benefits of angioplasty (no general anesthesia, no surgical incision, and the ability to return to normal activities within a couple of days) outweigh its risks. Usually a one-night hospital stay is required when angioplasty is performed.

Angioplasty is indicated when a patient has claudication that limits his or her activities and does not respond to exercise, medications, and lifestyle measures. Angioplasty usually has a better outcome when disease is focal and accessible via catheter. If a patient is too ill to have surgery and has severe ischemia (decreased oxygen) that threatens loss of a limb, angioplasty may also be attempted.

Some cases of peripheral artery disease may be more difficult to treat by angioplasty. For example, blockages in multiple small arteries of the legs or blockages in extremely small vessels may not be treatable by this method.

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Surgery for peripheral vascular disease

Surgical treatment for PAD involves either bypass surgery performed by a vascular surgeon or endarterectomy. Indications for surgical treatment of peripheral artery disease include lesions that, for anatomical reasons, may be difficult to treat by angioplasty. Examples include lesions covering long segments of a vessel, vessels with multiple narrowed areas, or long areas of narrowing.

Bypass surgery – surgical treatment

Bypass surgery involves using a vein from your body or a portion of synthetic vessel (known as grafts) to create a detour around the blockage. One end of the graft is sewn to the artery above the blockage and the other end is sewn below the blocked area. Blood flow is then able to bypass the area of narrowing or blockage. Bypass surgery is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia and a hospital stay.

Endarterectomy – surgical treatment

Endarterectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon cleans out plaque buildup inside the artery of the affected leg or arm.

Spider and Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are common conditions that affect many adults. These abnormally enlarged vessels, which affect women more often than men, appear most often on the legs and become more prevalent with age. Spider veins and varicose veins affect up to 50% of the adult population.

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What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins (also called telangiectasias) are clusters of tiny blood vessels that develop close to the surface of the skin. They are often red, blue, or purple; and they have the appearance of a spiderweb. They are commonly found on the face and legs.

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What Causes Spider and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by structural abnormalities of blood vessels. Veins carry blood back to the heart from other parts of the body. They utilize a series of one-way valves to avoid backflow of blood. For a variety of reasons, these valves can become defective, allowing the backflow of blood within veins. The subsequent pooling of blood and pressure increase within the vein, and weakens the blood vessel wall. Spider veins and varicose veins then develop from the engorgement and dilation of the affected blood vessels.

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Spider/Varicose Vein Symptoms

Spider veins and varicose veins often cause no symptoms or signs other than their undesirable cosmetic appearance. However, certain individuals may experience problematic symptoms from varicose veins. Symptoms may include swelling, throbbing, aching, burning, itching, heaviness, tingling, or cramping of the legs. These symptoms often worsen after prolonged sitting or standing. Individuals can also develop a brown discoloration of the skin and skin ulcers.

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Spider and Varicose Vein Diagnosis

Your health care professional can diagnose spider veins and varicose veins by closely examining the affected areas, which are usually on the legs. The examination will consist of a visual inspection, and palpation of the areas of concern. Special attention will be given to areas of redness, swelling, skin discoloration, and skin ulcers. Though most cases of spider veins and varicose veins do not require treatment, those individuals who develop complications should seek medical care and treatment. The treatment of spider veins and varicose veins also is sought for cosmetic reasons. There are various measures that can be used at home to help alleviate some of the symptoms should they develop. These conservative measures also can help prevent any potential complications.

Spider and Varicose Vein Complications

Though spider veins and varicose veins rarely cause serious complications, some individuals may develop skin ulcers. These open wounds usually appear on the lower leg, and they may sometimes lead to soft tissue infections. Some individuals with varicose veins can also develop blood clots within the veins (superficial thrombophlebitis). Localized bleeding from varicose veins also can occur.

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Treatments

Treatment: Sclerotherapy

Sometimes the conservative management of spider veins and varicose veins at home may not yield the desired results. In these cases, more specialized medical procedures may be performed, depending on the location and size of the abnormal veins. These medical procedures are often undertaken for cosmetic reasons.

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Sclerotherapy is a common procedure that can be performed in your doctor’s rooms, and it is very effective in eliminating the majority of spider veins and some varicose veins. During this procedure, which requires no anesthesia, your doctor will inject a liquid solution directly into the affected vein, which causes the vein to collapse and eventually fade away. Several sessions may be required for optimal results. Potential side effects include bruising, swelling, bleeding, infection, and skin discoloration.

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Treatment with sclerotherapy can require multiple treatment sessions, and healing time may vary from individual to individual. Generally, spider veins will begin to fade within three to six weeks after treatment, while varicose veins may require several months to respond.

Treatment: Support Stockings

Support stockings, also called compression stockings, are an easy intervention to use at home to help alleviate symptoms in the legs. Compression stockings improve circulation by increasing the pressure in the legs. These stockings come in a variety of styles and compression strengths. Your health care professional can recommend the proper pair for you. They are typically sold in pharmacy and medical supply facilities.

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What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins that appear most often on the legs. They are typically blue, purple, or skin-colored; and they appear as dilated, twisting and bulging vessels that may be raised above the surface of the skin.

Who Gets Spider and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are very common in adults, though women tend to develop them more frequently than men. There are a variety of different risk factors that increase the chances of a person getting spider veins and varicose veins. Risk factors include advanced age, prolonged sitting/standing, obesity, pregnancy, hormone therapy (HT), birth control pills, injury, prior vein surgery, a history of blood clots, and a family history.

Treatment

Treatment: Lifestyle Changes

A regular exercise program and weight loss can help relieve the symptoms of spider veins and varicose veins. Affected individuals should avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time, and elevate the legs while sitting or sleeping to improve the circulation and decrease swelling in the legs.

Treatment: Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is another alternative medical procedure that also can be performed in your doctor’s rooms. It is sometimes used as a complement to sclerotherapy in order to maximize results. It is most effective for spider veins and tiny varicose veins. For those individuals who do not like needles, this provides an alternative option, though your doctor will counsel you on which treatment modality is best given your particular situation. Laser therapy uses a focused beam of light that heats and damages the affected blood vessel, which eventually fades. Potential side effects include minor redness or swelling around the treated area, skin discoloration, blisters, and rarely scarring. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is a recently developed treatment for spider veins. IPL delivers pulses of different bands of light to targeted areas.

Laser Therapy

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Laser Therapy: Before and After

As with sclerotherapy, several sessions are frequently necessary for optimal results with laser therapy. Resolution can take anywhere from several weeks to several months after treatment.

Laser Therapy: Before and After

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Treatment: Vein Surgery

Surgery is an option for more severe cases of varicose veins. Your doctor will discuss with you the various surgical procedures available in order to help you determine which treatment is optimal for varicose veins. One of the surgical procedures available is vein ligation and stripping, which involves cutting and tying off the affected vein (ligation) and surgically removing (stripping) it through small incisions in the skin.

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Vein Surgery: Before and After

Vein ligation and stripping is frequently successful at resolving both the symptoms and cosmetic appearance of varicose veins. This procedure is done under local, spinal, or general anesthesia in a hospital or outpatient surgical centre. An overnight stay is sometimes necessary. Full recovery from this procedure usually takes about two to four weeks. Potential complications may include infection, bleeding, scarring, nerve injury, a deep vein blood clot, or an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

Treatment: Endovenous Laser

Endovenous laser treatment is a minimally invasive procedure which involves the emission of laser light through a thin fiber inserted into the affected vein, causing the vein to contract. Endovenous laser treatment has a 98% initial success rate. This procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia or using light sedation. Patients report less pain and a faster recovery time with endovenous laser treatment when compared to vein ligation and stripping.

Treatment: Radiofrequency Ablation

Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that is similar to endovenous laser treatment. Instead of using a laser light, a catheter is inserted into the vein and using radiofrequency energy, the affected vein is heated and contracts. As with endovenous laser treatment, patients report less pain and quicker recovery times compared to vein ligation and stripping.

Preventing Spider and Varicose Veins

Although spider veins and varicose veins may not always be entirely preventable, there are various measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing them. Prevention tips include:

  • exercising regularly,
  • maintain a healthy weight,
  • avoid prolonged sitting or standing,
  • avoid crossing your legs while seated,
  • elevate your legs when resting, and
  • avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing around your waist, groin and legs.

 

 

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