Itching Varicose Veins
When To Treat Varicose Veins
Would you think itching would be the best indicator of the need for treatment? As varicose veins slowly and gradually get worse as time goes by, how do you determine when they should be treated?
It is not a problem like appendicitis. Failure to immediately treat acute appendicitis can result in serious consequences, even death.
There is frequently a rapid deterioration with the risk of rupture and peritonitis. The body will cope at times even in these situations. But the risks of not surviving are high.
Is there a similar situtation in varicose veins?
Generally they do not tend to be life-threatening.
Bleeding From Varicose Veins
But people have died from them. A knock or small injury that penetrates a large varicose vein can lead to continued bleeding. Due to the lack of control of backward flow, your blod volume can drain away relatively quickly. Not as fast as an arterial injury would. But it is possible and has happened.
Stopping such a problem is relatively easy. Local pressure on the bleeding point will usually stop it. Elevating the limb will also stop blood flow and loss. The main point is to be aware the vein has been bleeding - it can happen so easily with little discomfort.
The natural history of varicose veins would seem to suggest that the earlier you treat them the better. With their inexorable gradual deterioration they will only get worse with time.
Because they are interconnected, one damaged vein will produce damaging effects in connected veins. Gradually the effect spreads to involve more and more vessels.
Those Without Symptoms
But some people can live all their lives with varicose veins, even quite bad looking ones, and never seem to suffer any ill effects. They may not even complain of any annoying symptoms.
Interestingly, though, when you treat such people, they nearly always notice health improvements. It may be better exercise tolerance - they can climb long flights of stairs without stopping, whereas they stopped repeatedly before treatment.
Or they notice they can stand for long periods without their legs feeling tired. They might notice they have a lot more energy.
Or interestingly, their partner night comment how they are no longer so grouchy.
Problems Requiring Treatment
There are problems that nearly all people would say should flag the need for treatment.
Large-scale skin changes usually nearer the ankle area, eczema associated with the veins, very shallow veins that look about to break and bleed, or ulcers from the veins.
Some would feel pain from the veins would be a good reason to do them.
Then there are all the other related symptoms of heaviness, restless legs, night cramps, ankle swelling and local surface clots.
Itching Varicose Veins
In large scale studies where people with varicose veins have been followed over many years one particular problem stood out as the best predictor of future problems if they were not treated. Many would think it would be one of the above problems.
Actually the best predictor was the symptom of itching from the veins. Why would this be?
We know varicose veins are associated with the accumulation of old blood in the damaged vessels. Unless the legs are elevated, the blood does not return back to the heart readily from them.
Waste products accumulate in them - carbon dioxide, lactic acid, etc.
The skin drained by these veins will therefore have an increased concentration of these waste products. It becomes less healthy. It becomes drier. This induces itching.
Over time this will produce varicose eczema. An injury in this area will not heal as well. Ulcers can follow.
Consequently itching indicates it is definitely time to treat the varicose veins before the skin deteriorates into more severe problems.
So if your veins are starting to be associated with itching of the skin of the leg, whether in a localised or more general way, I would recommend nature is telling you it is time to treat them.
Itching, such an innocuous symptom, but so important in predicting varicose veins that should be treated.