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When Varicose Veins Become Dangerous?

Varicose veins and spider veins are unsightly and a nuisance, but at what point do they become a medical concern?
In this article we’ll explain the stages of progression of chronic venous disease, and why the earlier the treatment, the better.

Those annoying varicose veins are the result of a gradual weakening of the little valves inside our veins. These valves are important because they ensure that the blood moves upward through the body, from the feet to the heart, against gravity. However, due to age, heredity, and lifestyle factors, the valves may begin to fail. When this happens, venous blood moves downward towards the feet and may pool in the lower extremities. This is when chronic venous disease, also known as chronic venous insufficiency, begins.

Generally, vein specialists list the following stages through which vein disease progresses in most people:

Generally, vein specialists list the following stages through which vein disease progresses in most people:

It is important to note that not everyone with spider or varicose veins will progress through all of these stages. Vein experts do not yet know exactly why some people progress and others do not, although they see a strong genetic or hereditary component in this process. So while all varicose veins should be evaluated by a specialist, if you have a family history of progressive venous disease, it’s particularly important that you get your veins examined especially if you have swelling, pigmentation or an ulcer.

If you already have swelling (Level 3) or changes in the colour of your skin (Level 4), the sooner you get treatment the better. These are not merely cosmetic problems that will go away on their own. What’s more, the higher levels are more difficult to treat and may take longer to resolve. Ulcers (Levels 5 and 6), which are the result of chronic and untreated leakage from varicose veins, can be particularly difficult to treat.

In terms of treatment options, compression stockings only provide symptom relief and cannot slow or reverse the progression of venous disease. There are now a number of minimally invasive treatment options available such as sclerotherapy and endovenous ablation that can be performed in a doctor’s clinic with no need for surgery or hospitalisation.

The right treatment for you will depend on the extent and location of your venous disease, and a venous health examination with ultrasound guidance will help your vein specialist offer you the most appropriate treatment options for your particular condition.

If you’re concerned about your veins, or if you’ve let your varicose veins go untreated for a while, we advise getting a scan and assessment. venous health evaluation. There are effective treatments for vein disease that will help minimise your symptoms and improve your circulation.

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Varicose veins are leg veins which do not pump blood effectively back to the heart and can be often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either leg. These varicose veins have valves in them which are not working effectively so that blood which is meant to be pushed towards the heart, leaks downwards toward the legs. There are other leg veins which are still working, so blood does eventually arrive through other routes to your heart. However, varicose veins do exert added pressure on your circulatory system. Read More.

Endovenous Laser Ablation is a Varicose Veins Laser Treatment performed in our clinic under local anaesthetic. This new procedure is an excellent treatment option for most patients with varicose veins and is considered slightly more effective than surgery but without the need for hospitalization. Read More.

This is an endovenous treatment (meaning treating the vein on the inside). It is generally accepted to be associated with less pain and bruising than endovenous laser ablation. It is a “gold standard” form of treatment for large varicose leg veins treatment as the procedure requires no hospitalization or time of work yet is at least as effective as surgery. Read More.

Venaseal™ or ‘superglue’ treatment by Sapheon is the latest surgery free procedure that uses a medical adhesive to safely and effectively treat varicose veins. Unlike other treatments, Venaseal™ does not require tumescent local anaesthetic around the vein, so there is usually only one local anaesthetic injection. The Venaseal™ non surgical treatment procedure also eliminates the use of heat (or thermal energy) so there is virtually no risk of nerve or skin injury or any major reaction to the anaesthetic. Read More.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy allows our doctors to visually guide and monitor a needle to the exact source of the incompetent vein (valve) to be injected. By using ultrasound we can treat more quickly and safely larger and deeper veins that once required more invasive surgical treatment. Foam sclerotherapy is the new form of delivering the sclerosing agent that allows us to treat larger varicose veins that might be unsuccessfully treated with conventional sclerotherapy. The foam solution has the consistency of ‘shaving cream’, which improves treatment in two distinct ways. Read More.

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