Varicose veins affect 20 to 35% of the French population. Is this a fatality? Not necessarily: there are solutions to fight against their appearance. An angiologist makes the point.
Varicose veins are abnormal superficial venous dilations that often have a bluish appearance and are located mainly on the lower limbs. There are two types:
- Varicose veins that evolve on their own account, and which are therefore independent of the saphenous network. They are not systematized, that is, they do not appear on a well-defined territory. These varicose veins, which are the most common, are treated by sclerotherapy or laser.
- Systemized varicose veins, which are fed by incompetent saphenous veins. These veins, which are 4 in number, are located behind the calves (external saphenous veins) and inside the thighs (saphenous veins). They are said to be incontinent because the valves that allow the blood to progress no longer work and create reflux. These varicose veins are treated by conventional or endovenous surgery, supplemented by sclerotherapy.
Varicose veins appear most often in women at puberty and are aggravated by pregnancy. They can be asymptomatic or cause heaviness, pain and edema. We then speak of manifestations of superficial venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins have multiple origins. There are three main risk factors: heredity, hormones - especially because of the pill, but especially pregnancies - and professional orthostatism, that is to say, to remain long standing.
Other risk factors include tobacco, especially when combined with the pill, heat, sedentary lifestyle, overweight and constipation.
To avoid the appearance of varicose veins, there are 4 main reflexes to adopt:
1. Fight the heat, avoiding staying in the sun for a long time, or in an overheated room.
2. Fight against overweight, including adopting a balanced diet.
3. Physical activity to work the calf muscle pump. But not just any: veins do not like aggressive sports like tennis, table tennis, horse riding or volleyball. The ideal? Walking, gymnastics, swimming or cycling.
4. Bet on compression stockings when you have a predisposing family plot. They help restore the physiological circulation by forcing the blood to go in the right direction.
Thanks to Dr. Joëlle Cohen-Pognot, angiologist in Paris.
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