Inspired living

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged tortuous and bumpy veins that result from the malfunction of valves within veins. Valves keep the flow of blood unidirectional in veins, and this prevents blood from pooling in the extremities. When valves do not function properly, circulation is impaired and blood accumulates in veins and causes them to stretch and enlarge. Most varicose veins are not a serious issue, but in some people if not adequately treated, it can lead to bleeding under the skin, blood clots, eczema near the affected veins and ulcerated spots.

Causes: sitting or standing for a long period of time, crossing your legs, lack of regular exercise, obesity, heavy lifting and pregnancy, constipation, heart failure, liver disease, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin C and bioflavonoids), heredity, hormone replacement therapy and the oral contraceptive pill.

Symptoms: swelling, leg sores, restlessness, itching, leg cramps and feeling heaving in the legs.

Who to consult: Dietician, GP, herbalist, homoeopath, massage therapist, naturopath, occupational therapist, sclerotherapist.