Varicose veins: you don't think about them until you have them. In addition to being disfiguring, the blue, tortuous and sometimes bumpy veins can also cause painful complaints in the legs or calves. About a quarter of the Dutch population has varicose veins, but many people are left with questions. Because what are varicose veins actually? Are they dangerous and how do you get rid of them?
Clarissa van Vlijmen, surgeon specialized in varicose veins, answers frequently asked questions.
What are varicose veins?
'Varicose veins are dilated veins, caused by bad valves in the draining veins. Every person has supply veins that pump oxygenated blood throughout the body and draining veins that pump deoxygenated blood back to the heart. These veins contain valves that ensure that the blood flows in the right direction and that it does not flow back by gravity. Dilated veins, outdated or weakened valves ensure that the valves no longer close as well. This creates more congestion of the blood, causing the veins to expand further and they become varicose veins that you can see with the naked eye. In some cases varicose veins cannot be seen with the naked eye, but people can experience complaints.'
Are varicose veins dangerous?
'Varicose veins are not dangerous, but they can get worse. The longer you delay treatment, the more complicated the procedure becomes. In the long term, varicose veins can be a sign of problems such as inflammation of the veins and thrombosis. This doesn't always have to be the case, of course, and that's why we recommend that you have it looked at.' Does heredity determine whether or not you get them? 'There is certainly a congenital weakness of the vessel wall due to abnormalities in the proteins that form the vessel wall.'
What are other important triggers?
'In addition to heredity, aging plays an important role. The quality and elasticity of the veins decreases and this automatically causes blood vessels and valves to slacken. Furthermore, hormonal changes can make the vessels a little more slack. This happens, for example, during
pregnancies. People who stand all day are also more likely to develop varicose veins.'
Is it true that women are more likely to have varicose veins?
'It has not been proven that women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. It is true that pregnancy increases the risk and men naturally do not get pregnant. Women are also more likely to go to a specialist to get rid of varicose veins. Fortunately, men are doing this more and more often.'
Why are varicose veins in the legs?
“All the weight of your body rests on your legs. The blood flow in the legs must always pump against gravity.'
What are the most common physical complaints?
'The most common complaints in early varicose veins are tired, heavy and warm legs. Varicose veins can keep you from sleeping due to cramps, restless and aching legs. In an advanced stage, we often see fluid accumulation around the ankles or lower leg. The skin develops a rash or eczema and may discolor or feel harder. If you keep walking around with varicose veins for too long, they can become inflamed. In the worst case, open wounds can occur.'
When do you go to the doctor for varicose veins?
'Because varicose veins can be a barrier both cosmetically and physically, it never hurts to have a varicose vein looked at and possibly treated. Moreover, timely treatment prevents further complications.'
Do you want to know more about the treatment of varicose veins or do you have a specific
question you would like to ask Clarissa or one of the other specialists?
Please feel free to contact the phlebology department via 020-3055811
Esthetisch Centrum Jan van Goyen
Concertgebouwplein 11, 1071 LL Amsterdam
Medical Center Jan van Goyen
Jan van Goyenkade 1, 1075 HN Amsterdam
Emmastraat 42, 1075 HW Amsterdam
020-3055800 • www.jvg.nl • email@example.com