Are varicose veins only cosmetic?
Veins are a crucial part of our circulatory system.
The circulatory system is made up of arteries and veins.
Arteries are the high pressure blood vessels taking blood from the heart to the tissues. This arterial blood is full of oxygen and nutrients.
Once the tissues have used the oxygen and nutrients, the waste metabolites and carbon dioxide need to be transported away from the tissues to keep them healthy. It is the veins that have to do this. They take venous blood full of carbon dioxide and waste metabolites back to the right side of the heart, the liver and the kidneys.
Because veins are low-pressure, they are often thought of as less exciting than arteries. In addition, many doctors and nurses still regard veins as "only cosmetic". The result of this is that patients do not take them very seriously. However, we now know that varicose veins that are left untreated can go on to cause aching of the legs, swollen ankles, eczema around the ankles, brown stains, clots in the veins, bleeding and even leg ulcers (open sores).¹
Indeed, good research shows that every year, 4.3% of patients with varicose veins (that is just under 1 in 20) will get clinically worse, leading to one or more of the problems listed above.¹
Furthermore, a randomised research trial has shown that treating varicose veins with any symptoms (such as aching or heavy legs) or signs (swelling or skin discolouration at the ankles) is significantly better than leaving the veins untreated and in compression stockings only.² Those patients with untreated varicose veins continue to deteriorate. It has been shown that this leads to a worsening quality-of-life.
Hence it is not surprising that in July 2013, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that anyone with varicose veins, either primary or recurrent, with any symptoms or signs should be referred to a specialist unit for duplex ultrasound scan and treatment.³
1 - Pannier F, Rabe E. Progression in venous pathology. Phlebology. 2015;30(1 Suppl):95-97. doi:10.1177/0268355514568847
2- Michaels JA, Campbell WB, Brazier JE, et al. Randomised clinical trial, observational study and assessment of cost-effectiveness of the treatment of varicose veins (REACTIV trial). Health Technol Assess. 2006;10(13):1-iv. doi:10.3310/hta10130
3 - Varicose veins: diagnosis and management Clinical guideline [CG168] Published date: 24 July 2013. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG168
Facts about veins!
A common factor is due to genetic predisposition (hereditary condition)
Varicose veins can deteriorate if not treated correctly
It is usually more than a cosmetic issue
Time to be Vein!
Vein Health Awareness
Vein Health Awareness Week (running 21st-27th September 2020) is a key awareness week in the healthcare calendar - coined by Professor Mark Whiteley himself.
Vein Health Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of various venous health conditions; including but not limited to varicose veins, pelvic congestion syndrome and deep vein thrombosis.
The Whiteley Clinic
The Whiteley Clinic are the leading centres for the treatment of varicose veins and other venous conditions in the UK.
Being at the forefront of new techniques and innovations, The Whiteley Clinic only offer the best and most effective treatments on The Whiteley Protocol®