IO – A lot of women feel prettier and sexier when they wear high heeled shoes. Not surprising, as a lot of glamorous Hollywood beauties successfully wear them to improve their image over the decades. However, we must beware. In the long term, this habit can cause the appearance of varicose veins…which ironically make the legs look ugly. Other than constant wearing of high heels, varicose veins risk factors include repeated pregnancy, age, family history, and obesity. Other than the cosmetic issue of dark, spiderweb-like network of veins on the legs, varicose veins may also trigger complaints such as night aches in the legs, a feeling of heaviness, swelling, and even itches and wounds in advanced stages.
“Varicose veins result from the swelling of prominent, curving veins on the surface of the skin, especially the veins of the lower limbs. Vein walls in people weaken as people age, especially for those 50 years old or older. This reduces their elasticity, causing veins to swell up easily. On the other hand, it is possible to suffer it even if you’re 30 years or younger. This is usually because it’s genetic,” said dr. Wirya A. Graha, Sp.BTKV, Bethsaida Hospital Serpong’s thoracic, cardiac, and vascular surgery specialist in a media meet held last Thursday (27/01/2022).
Another varicose vein risk factor not many people know of is the habit to bend one’s legs immediately after doing sports. “Here’s what happens: when you are exercising, blood will flow faster all over your body in large volumes, especially towards your limbs. If you bend your legs immediately after exercising, you impede blood flow. When it happens, blood vessels will expand. Frequent repetition will trigger varicose veins in the future. To prevent this, don’t bend your legs immediately after you finish sports. Stretch them awhile for some time. This especially applies when you just finished doing heavy exercises like body pumping, basketball, badminton, tennis, or weightlifting. We suggest that you cycle or walk slightly afterwards instead.”
Varicose veins can be diagnosed through vascular USG checks. “For further prevention, avoid risk factors and wear compression stockings. You wear them all day long to prevent your limbs from swelling, but they do not eliminate varicose veins. Another possible treatment is by putting your feet up, elevate your limbs so that they are at the same or higher elevation than the heart. When you sleep, put a couple of pillows under your ankles and feet to support them,” dr. Wirya said.
Technological advances now allow for new medical techniques, including the safe and effective Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) varicose vein treatment. “Principally, this laser ablation converts laser ray into heat, which will shrink the vein and normalize blood flow. It is the most efficient, affordable, and successful therapy available now. It will cause minimal wounding, 1-2 millimeters long, and the patient is allowed to go back home within three hours after the operation. The patient should avoid strenuous physical activities for up to a week after the operation. There is a possible post-op recurrence after 15 years, but it’s only 15%,” dr. Wirya said.
How much will EVLA cost then?
Dr. Bina Ratna Kusuma Fitri, M.M., Bethsaida Hospital’s CEO, stated that a complete EVLA procedure in her hospital will only set the patient back IDR 50-60 million. “This cost includes checkup costs, USG, and EVLA surgery on both legs. The patient and their families need not be worried even in this pandemic, as we never lower our awareness of Covid-19 and we prioritize safety and security procedures for our staff and patients. Other than EVLA, we also provide RFA, minimally invasive treatment for thyroid swelling,” she said.
Finally, dr. Wirya declared that varicose veins are preventable by consuming nutritious food, and to avoid prolonged wearing of tight pants and high heels. If your job forces you to sit or stand in place for long periods of times, pause to do stretching and other exercises regularly. (Esti)