How do Varicose Veins form?
There are several reasons for the development of varicose veins. These include heredity (genetics), hormonal factors (pregnancy) and lack of exercise. No varicose veins develop in a healthy body. Varicose veins always develop from diseased, mostly deeper lying and therefore invisible veins.
The most plausible explanation for the development of varicose veins is that all people experience stress in one or more sections of the veins, for example through prolonged standing or sitting. In these phases blood accumulates in the leg veins as a result of gravity and even healthy veins can experience minor discomfort (congestion or heaviness). The veins are filled above average, but the venous valves still function perfectly. As soon as the person concerned takes a few steps or puts his legs up to sleep, the condition of the veins normalises. Therefore, this is still a 'healthy' stage.
When phases of stress accumulate and regeneration is neglected, the stage of overload follows. The characteristic feature is that one or more venous valves can no longer hold the blood volume but allows it to flow backwards. Now it is a condition that can only be observed for a few hours a day and possibly only during work. If you go to the doctor early in the morning, he won't find anything. This stage is still fully reversible - usually through activation training, i.e. without interventions or aids.
If this opportunity is not seized, the overloading of the veins and their valves will lead to an all-day reversal of the flow in these regions. Normally, the muscles of the foot and leg pump the venous blood upwards and healthy venous valves prevent it from flowing back. If too much blood accumulates in the veins, the valve regions overstretch and no longer close. Now we do not have more stress or overloading in front of us, but a weakness of the veins. Physicians call it 'venous insufficiency'. A venous insufficiency is therefore not an unfavourable predisposition, but a condition that the patient has simply allowed to develop due to a lack of better knowledge. Even at this stage, the veins can still be saved (reversible insufficiency), but it can require aids or minor interventions.
The last stage - and it usually takes decades until it is reached - is characterized by pronounced vein weakness. Now the vein metabolism and blood flow disorders are so severe that they can no longer be reversed without surgery. At least smaller sections of the veins can no longer be preserved. Most patients only consult a doctor at this stage because their symptoms are increasing, their varicose veins have become larger and ugly, or their skin is already dry, reddened or otherwise damaged.
So, remember this:
- venous stress
- vein overload
- venous insufficiency, reversible
- venous insufficiency, no longer reversible
Since 2016, we have been able to use the latest ultrasound technology to identify processes in the venous valves that lead to their long-term destruction. Such an early diagnosis has never existed before! We can see from your venous valves whether your compression socks are helping you, whether your vein tablet is working, whether vein gymnastics is benefiting you.
If you want to know what applies to you, make your appointment now with us in Zurich.