Dangerous varicose veins: how to get rid of them and prevent them
More than half of all Germans suffer from varicose veins. In many cases, these are very fine, superficial varicose veins, the so-called spider veins, which are more of an aesthetic than a medical problem. But sometimes so-called varicose veins can also be dangerous. Experts explain what you can do about varicose veins and how to prevent them.
Over 50 percent of Germans suffer from varicose veins
"Varicose veins, also called varicose veins or varices, are extensions in the superficial venous system", explains the website of the Artemed specialist clinic in Munich. More than half of all Germans suffer from it - women more often than men. According to the experts, over 90 percent of varicose veins affect the veins in the legs and appear as reddish to bluish meanders under the skin. However, a varicose vein is "not only a meandering vein, but also an enlarged one, and its function is disturbed," writes the German Society for Vascular Surgery and Vascular Medicine (DGG). This can have dangerous consequences.
Which people are at risk
"Varicose veins often develop due to a congenital or age-related weakness of the vein walls and / or the venous valves," says the Artemed specialist clinic in Munich.
"In addition, lack of exercise, wrong eating habits and hormonal influences are triggers for varicose veins," it continues.
This condition is also promoted by overweight, long standing and pregnancy. But there is more that can damage the vessels:
For example, high shoes, boots and pants that are too tight. They constrict legs and feet and disrupt blood circulation. This leads to swollen legs and also causes heat to build up in the veins.
“Vessels expand due to high temperatures and the venous valves, which, like a valve, ensure that blood only flows in one direction, fail to work. This means that the blood can no longer drain away and sinks in the legs, ”explained Prof. Dr. Stefan Hillejan, phlebologist and proctologist from the practice clinic for venous and rectal diseases in Hanover.
Another adversary of the veins is alcohol. It also widens the vessels so that blood collects in the leg. The same applies to sunbathing and sauna visits, because the vessels widen in the heat.
Sitting habitually with your legs crossed also affects blood flow, causing congestion in the area below.
"In many cases it is very fine, superficial varicose veins, the so-called spider veins, which are more of an aesthetic or cosmetic than a medical problem," writes the Artemed Clinic Munich.
"Varicose veins themselves do not cause any discomfort or pain," explains the DGG.
"But varicose veins remain untreated in the advanced case, symptoms such as water accumulation in the tissue (edema) or skin ulcers (ulcers) can arise and cause complaints," explains the Munich clinic.
For example, the venous circulation disorder associated with the condition can lead to leg swelling, which can be manifested by a feeling of tension, the feeling of heavy legs or muscle or calf cramps.
Furthermore, varicose veins tend to inflammation (varicophlebitis), which can be accompanied by severe venous pain.
Another possible consequence: "Varicose veins increase the risk of thrombosis," reports the German Vein League in a message. A blood clot (thrombus) forms on the vein wall. If this separates again from the vein wall, life-threatening pulmonary embolism can occur.
And last but not least, an open leg (ulcus cruris) can develop from years of vein weakness.
Varicose veins can reappear after removal
What helps to get rid of varicose veins? "Which form of therapy is used depends on the extent of the disease and the affected vascular sections," writes the DGG.
The Artemed Fachklinik München explains: “In addition to the classic varicose vein surgery, therapies with radio waves and the adhesive procedure are a good choice. Smaller varicose veins or spider veins can be desolated. "
It should be borne in mind that the tendency to varicose veins is innate. If varicose veins are removed, this does not protect against recurrence, which is why regular checks are necessary even after successful therapy.
Move a lot and put your legs up
Health experts often give tips on how to prevent spider veins and varicose veins, but there is no reliable scientific knowledge.
However, it is generally recommended to exercise a lot. For example, walking can help to reflux the blood. Endurance sports such as jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, aerobics or special vein exercises are also recommended.
High shoes, tight trousers and long sitting should be avoided. It is advised to walk barefoot and raise the legs frequently.
Obesity should be reduced, smoking and alcohol should be avoided. A healthy diet with lots of fiber, reduced sugar and fat content and a healthier fat composition (more vegetable fat than animal fat, polyunsaturated fatty acids) not only contribute to weight control but also to vascular health.
Extreme heat such as sunbathing outside or in the sauna should be avoided.
In principle, water applications can also have a beneficial effect on the legs. This includes, for example, the cold knee cast, a well-tried home remedy for varicose veins.
Alternating showers also improve blood circulation. (ad)