LEG PAIN, SWELLING, DISCOLORATION AND ABNORMAL VEINS
Leg cramping, aching, swelling, visible veins, skin irritation, sores and ulcers can be due to varicose veins.
What are varicose veins?
In normal circumstances, blood travels from the heart to the legs through ‘arteries’ and return back to the heart through ‘veins’.
Veins have valves that allow ‘one-way’ return of blood from the legs to the heart without backing off. If the valves leak, blood pools in leg and the veins in the legs to bulge and enlarge.
How can I prevent varicose veins?
According to “Office on Women’s Health” -Not all varicose and spider veins can be prevented. But, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting new varicose and spider veins. These same things can help ease discomfort from the ones you already have:
- Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Don’t cross your legs for long times when sitting. It’s possible to injure your legs that way, and even a minor injury can increase the risk of varicose veins.
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Don’t stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Lower-heeled shoes can help tone your calf muscles to help blood move through your veins.
Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation, which can contribute to varicose veins. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating less salt can help with the swelling that comes with varicose veins.
What is the best and less invasive way of treatment?
Varicose vein treatment is a less invasive treatment that uses “Laser” energy to close the abnormally enlarged veins in the legs usually called as “varicose veins”.
Laser treatment is done using ultrasound guidance to generate heat by laser energy to close these defective veins. Now the blood flow can be diverted to the healthy veins, which can carry the blood back to the heart.
Laser treatment successfully closes the abnormal veins in more than 90% of the situations. Additional treatments are often required after the Laser treatment for small abnormal dilated veins. This is usually done by injection of scleroscent liquid.
Please see http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/varicose-spider-veins.html for more information
LEG PAIN AND BLOCKED ARTERIES
Peripheral arterial disease
Blockage in the leg arteries can cause pain, ulcers, and difficulty in walking. Usually poor circulation in the legs called ‘peripheral artery disease’ (PAD) causes leg pain when walking. Sometimes loss of blood supply due to blocked arteries can cause loss of leg and gangrene.
Peripheral artery disease signifies that there is a widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries called atherosclerosis. This condition not only reduces blood supply to the legs this can be a indirect event that there is also reduced blood flow to your heart and brain.
How to control peripheral arterial disease?
You can prevent developing peripheral artery disease by quitting tobacco, exercising and eating a healthy diet.
According to National institute of Health
“Balance exercise with rest. Walk or do another activity to the point of pain and alternate it with rest periods. Over time, your circulation may improve as new, small (collateral) blood vessels form. Always talk to the doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Stop smoking. Smoking narrows the arteries, decreases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, and increases the risk of forming clots (thrombi and emboli).
- Take care of your feet, especially if you also have diabetes. Wear shoes that fit properly. Pay attention to any cuts, scrapes, or injuries, and see your doctor right away. Tissues heal slowly and are more likely to get infected when there is decreased circulation.
- Make sure your blood pressure is well-controlled.
- If you are overweight, reduce your weight.
- If your cholesterol is high, eat a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet.
- Monitor your blood sugar level if you have diabetes, and keep it under control.”
For further reading http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000170.htm
Treatment Surgical vs. non surgical:
After the above conservative therapy, either surgical or minimally invasive procedures can be performed to increase the blood supply to the legs to decrease the pain and to save the legs. Surgery usually has a long period of recovery compared to few hours of recovery in catheter based minimally invasive methods.
Minimally invasive treatment:
Using a catheter based minimally invasive method, the artery can be entered with a tiny nick in the skin usually at the groin using local anesthesia. Then a thin catheter that looks like a piece of noodle is passed into the femoral artery. Next a contrast dye is injected to provide direct visualization of the artery. Blockage is usually fixed with a atherectomy (more or less like a small roto-rooter) to take away the blockage then balloon is used to expand the vessel and rarely a stent need to be used to keep the artery open.