about. And in very severe cases it might even
lead to amputation.
The symptoms: of course, most varicose veins
don’t cause any of these nasty problems.
They’re superficial and, particularly in
women, they are said to be cosmetically ugly.
Women of course want to have beautiful legs
and so many women with varicose veins will
go to a surgeon or to a vein specialist. And
they can do one of two things: they can actually
remove the veins or they can squirt a very
caustic material into the vein causing the
vein to scar over and disappear.
Some people who have a lot of varicose veins
will actually have aching in the lower extremities.
Often this is due to swelling and, again,
edema we’ve talked about. That edema from
venous disease often goes down at night when
you put your legs on the same level as your
heart and the gravity is no longer working.
In heart failure, often the edema doesn’t
disappear as easily.
Varicose veins can affect the quality of life.
In fact, they can decrease it, particularly
if they’re symptomatic. This figure shows
quality of life scores for a number of different
kinds of venous quality of life indices.
And what you see in the dark green is patients
with the post-thrombotic syndrome – the
one that we’ve talked about before where
there’s ulcers and brown discoloration in
the leg and swelling – and then compared
to patients who don’t have the post-thrombotic
syndrome but who have varicose veins. And
you can see that the quality of life – a
variety of different questions about, “How
are you able to exercise? Do you have discomfort?
Are you worried about how unsightly they are?
Do you avoid people?” and so forth. You’re
much worse off if you have the post-thrombotic
syndrome with all of the attendant anatomical
problems that go with that.