blue sky

Home     Display     HandyHints

Varicose Veins
varicose veins are a medical condition for young and old

Varicose veins are a condition that one might expect to be an old person's problem; yet I have noticed the obvious signs in the young too. There seems no clear explanation for the occurrence of these often unsightly blemishes to the skin; but I have my own theory. My father had them for years, mainly in his left leg and they were quite pronounced. He was a musician and spent much of his time sitting while playing; and this, apparently is inadvisable. Normal walking, it is claimed, helps to stimulate blood flow in the legs and also strengthens the calf muscles without jarring, as happens when jogging or running. Dad did neither of the latter, so those exertions weren't the cause. In his spare time, however, he was a printer and was quite often at his press, which was an old treadle machine. To operate this required him to continually push the treadle with one foot while standing on the other, occasionally for an hour or more at a time; and the leg taking his weight for the duration was his left. Maybe this was the reason only one leg was badly affected, because the other was being exercised more regularly.

Whatever the initial cause, the effects are a medical certainty. The blood running down the veins of the legs can become interrupted when faulty valves allow blood to flow in the wrong direction, and even pool. The result of these restrictions is an increase in pressure which can prove uncomfortable, or in some cases painful. Swelling may be felt above the knee behind the thigh; but is generally more obvious to the patient in the calf and foot where the veins close to the surface become raised and distinctly visible, appearing blue or dark purple. The signs are clearly an indication that something is not quite right in the circulatory system; and if left unattended, problems more serious than an unsightly appearance can develop.

varicose veins     varicose veins

Thrombophlebitis, the swelling of veins in the leg, is not uncommon; and this can lead to swollen feet and ankles. Of greater concern would be deep vein thrombosis, a condition those who fly frequently need to be aware of. Unfortunately, many will brush off any resulting pain and swelling, putting it down to just sitting for long periods; and once they are mobile again, the problem always seems to fix itself. Maybe; but maybe not - deep vein thrombosis can lead to pulmonary embolism, a dangerous situation affecting the lungs. Occasionally, as in my case, a clot can form in the vein. Close to the surface of the skin, this will be fairly obvious; and localised pain can be quite sharp and worrying.

I also had a crazed, unsightly pattern of surface veins on the instep; but although there was no discomfort in the area, it was indicative of further problems. I was experiencing numbness in the lower leg and the sole of the foot; and had a sore big toe which eventually turned the colour of a ripe plum! From my point of view, the time had arrived to seek medical advice.

First stop was the family doctor who referred me to a vascular surgeon. Following an examination, the surgeon explained in simple terms the various forms of treatment that might be necessary; and these would be determined by an initial ultrasound. The scan pinpointed areas that required two different procedures. The first was to seal off the long vein running from just above the knee up the inside of the thigh to the groin. A local anaesthetic was administered, so there was minimal discomfort, and definitely no pain as such. An incision was made for a fine wire to be inserted into the vein, then threaded up the length. Once at the top, a short laser burst was used to seal off the entry point; after which the wire was withdrawn, pausing at intervals to cauterise the vein in sections until it was no longer able to carry a blood flow. Apparently, this function would encourage the transfer of circulation to an alternative vein which would take over and supply blood to the lower leg. Able to watch throughout, I found the procedure merely interesting; but what came next was considerably more fascinating.

Continued on Next page

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print complete article.

  Top of page

Where every effort has been made to be accurate and fair-minded, comments and opinions expressed on this website are based on personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider community or those groups and institutions mentioned. A Season of Happiness and its staff accept no responsibility for any outcome based on suggestions offered. What works for us may not work for you. Please bear this in mind.

A Season of Happiness - helping you and yours towards a better lifestyle
For a look at some more informative articles on a variety of subjects click on the links below

Money    Health     Focus     Popcorn     Recipes     eBooks     About     Contact

copyright © 2011-2021  All Rights Reserved