Medically reviewed by Gabor Winkler, MD McLeod Vascular Associates
Don’t ignore those ugly little lines on your legs. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Gabor Winkler, MD warns that if they’re not treated, serious wounds might result.
Here are major points from Dr. Winkler:
Varicose veins are the result of extra pressure on the side branches of some of the larger veins. There are two types of veins in the body. There are superficial veins that we can normally see on the skin’s surface. Then, there are deep veins that we usually don’t see.
The superficial veins have several main superficial veins in the leg. The little side branches of the main veins can become enlarged from increased pressure over time. This enlargement can start bulging through the skin, taking several forms.
It can be small – what we call a spider vein – which is essentially discoloration of tiny, hair-sized veins on the skin. Once it’s elevated above the skin, it can become more problematic. Or it can be a larger branch of the main veins, which results in bothersome and ugly cords in the leg.
The most common cause is a pressure from the back flowing blood due to a malfunction of the valves in the vein. Certainly, lifestyle issues – a patient’s weight, what they do – has a very significant impact on these, as well, given that standing in one place for a prolonged period of time and also sitting with your feet dangling down – the way the majority of us spend our working days — are really unhealthy positions for the veins and for the returning circulation from the legs back to heart.
Interestingly, walking around is actually very helpful to aid in the function of the veins. And certainly, lounging around with our legs elevated is also very conducive to returning circulation through the veins.
Venous ulcers basically represent the most advanced, almost final, stage of chronic venous disease, which encompasses all the vein problems that occur over time.
Venous Stasis Ulcers essentially represent the last stage of Chronic Venous Disease. Over time, the increased pressure on the lower portions of the body from the blood flowing in the wrong direction pushes blood from the vein branches into the tissue and skin. The pressure prevents both the tissue and the skin from getting enough oxygen from the arteries coming from the heart.
Once blood seeps through the wall of the vein, it can cause significant inflammation in the tissue. Blood is really only meant to circulate in the body through the arteries and veins. Once it escapes, it can cause significant inflammation, potentially leading to a failure of the skin. It breaks down into a wound that is very difficult to heal by itself.
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