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NHS Varicose Veins Treatment

What are Varicose Veins and why do they occur?

The veins in the human body transport blood back to the heart. Varicose veins occur when the tiny valves within the veins begin to weaken and stop doing the job of controlling the flow of blood through them. At this point blood is allowed to flow in the opposite direction through the vein and can pool into one area causing the vein to swell.

Complications such as discolouration of the skin surrounding the area as well leg ulcers developing can arise if the problem is not treated so your GP should be consulted. If it comes to the point where the area affected becomes swollen and uncomfortable then you may even be entitled to having your Varicose Veins treated on the NHS.

Varicose Veins Removal on the NHS

How do I know if I have Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are most commonly found in the legs, ankles and feet because of the pressure put on these areas through standing or walking over prolonged periods of time. Varicose veins are swollen and blue or purple in colour, the vein also may look bulging or twisted in shape. Symptoms of varicose veins also include a painful, throbbing sensation in the legs and the swelling of legs or the ankles and feet. This is an indication that there may be a problem with your circulation.

What Varicose Vein Treatment is available on the NHS?

  • Laser Varicose Vein removal on the NHS: Laser treatments such as endovenous laser treatment EVLT or radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins are extremely limited on the NHS and will only be considered in specific circumstances and under the direction of GPs and specialists. Due to increasing pressures put on the budgets of local primary care trusts they may be placing more expensive treatments such as EVLT and laser ablation methods low on their list of priorities.
  • Stripping and Ligation on the NHS: This is the most popular technique used by surgeons in the NHS when treating varicose veins where the top of the vein is sealed off and subsequently removed whilst the patient is under general anaesthetic.
  • Sclerotherapy Varicose Vein Treatment on the NHS: This treatment, used primarily to treat small to medium sized veins, involves injecting a chemical in the form of a foam or liquid in to the vein. This chemical scars the affected vein, seals it shut and should fade within a couple of weeks once the other veins takeover some of the work.

However, many people can carry on their normal lives without the need for their Varicose Veins to be removed. With the use of compression stockings and the appropriate rest and care the problems of varicose veins can often be controlled without the need for further treatment. However if you do feel pain or discomfort then it is worth consulting your GP to discuss possible avenues for treatment and find out whether you are entitled to receive varicose vein removal on the NHS.

What causes Varicose Veins and what can I do to avoid the Condition?

There are many things you can do to avoid the risk of developing varicose veins such as controlling your weight as being overweight puts extra strain on the veins in the legs and feet so this means that obese people are far more likely to develop circulation problems. Also, relaxing by taking the strain off your legs as much as possible, especially if your job means that you are on your feet most of the time can help you avoid varicose veins. However, there are certain unavoidable factors that will make you more likely to develop problems. Women are more likely to develop the condition than men are and pregnant women are especially at risk of developing veins. Older people are also far more likely to develop varicose veins as they begin to lose elasticity in their veins. Unfortunately circulation problems tend to run in the family so if your parents have been afflicted by similar problems you are more likely to develop problems as well.

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