hat impact do varicose veins have on quality of life?
Dr. Salama: There are few studies on the impact of varicose veins on our quality of life, and the results are contradictory. When asked if quality of life is affected, the answers are contradictory depending on whether you look at the impact on the symptoms associated with varicose veins (chronic venous insufficiency) (edema, skin changes, ulcers) or the medical problem that causes the varicose veins.
What role does the progression of chronic venous insufficiency play?
Dr. Salama: As a rule, varicose veins are associated with various unpleasant symptoms in about 60 percent of all patients with progressive disease, which greatly impair quality of life. These include heavy, restless or aching legs, swelling, heat or burning, throbbing, itching and tingling. Not only do the above symptoms negatively impact quality of life in daily activities, but there are also psychological effects, such as compromised quality of life and self-esteem. Studies have shown that inflammation of a superficial vein (thrombophlebitis) caused by a blood clot leads to a significantly increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and thromboembolic disease in 22.2 percent of all patients. In the latter, the blood clot detaches from the vessel wall and is transported further in the bloodstream, where it gets stuck in a blood vessel and closes it.
What are the risk factors?
Dr. Salama: Risk factors for developing progressive chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins are common and include advanced age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and occupations, family history, and pregnancy. Varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency are associated with venous hypertension, venous reflux, dysfunctional venous valves, and venous wall inflammation, although the exact causes remain unclear. Once venous pathology develops, it can initiate a vicious cycle of inflammation and leukocyte recruitment, leading to deterioration of venous walls and valves, increased blood pressure, and release of other proinflammatory mediators. Early treatment of symptomatic varicose veins and cardiovascular disease, as well as lifestyle changes, can help break the inflammatory cycle and relieve symptoms. Healthcare professionals and patients should be aware of the risk factors for leg vein disease associated with circulatory disturbances due to venous outflow obstruction, the treatments and interventions available to slow the progression of the disease, and the serious consequences of uncontrolled disease progression.