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Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

Description

Varicose veins are dilated, twisted veins which are a result of blood pooling. The subcutaneous leg veins, especially the saphenous veins and their branches, are usually affected. There are two types of varicose veins: primary and secondary.

Primary varicose veins occur without disease of the deep veins and generally have a benign course.

Secondary varicose veins are those due to obstruction and valvular incompetence of the deep veins. This is the more serious form.

Varicose veins is a disease found in both males and females. However, females are affected twice as often as males, possibly due to less developed leg muscles. In women, varicose veins usually occur after age 20, although they may develop in relation to puberty or menopause. In males there is a fairly even distribution of varicose veins until age 70. People whose jobs require them to remain stationary or standing for long periods of time are particularly susceptible, because of the pressure this puts on the legs.

If varicose veins go untreated, serious health problems can occur. Primary self-care is necessary to prevent this. Antiembolism stockings and elastic bandages, which counteract swelling in the feet and ankles by supporting the veins and improving blood circulation, are often worn. Exercise programs which promote muscular contraction, especially biking, are recommended. Increased muscular contraction assists in circulation and minimize venous pooling. Stripping of veins, and vein ligation may be required in the case of surgery. Ligation may be achieved by the injection of substances into the affected vein. Blood is then forced into healthy veins and tissues. Restrictive clothing, garters, or tight shoes should be avoided. The legs should be raised whenever possible.

Varicose veins lead to a deterioration in tissue, so that varicose ulcers may form.

Causes

Primary Factors

The primary cause of varicose veins is weakened valves such that blood is allowed to seep back down towards the feet. The blood seeps back until it reaches a properly functioning valve and pools at this spot. This increases the internal pressure of the veins, causing the walls to expand. The valves are then weakened even further, worsening the condition.

Predisposing Factors

Diseases of the venous system, including deep vein thrombophlebitis

Conditions which produce prolonged venostasis such as:

Pregnancy, due to increased blood flow, blood volume, and pressure of the enlarged uterus on deep veins

Occupations which require standing for long periods of time

Congenital weakness of the valves or venous walls

Aging

Obesity

Hormonal disturbances

Intra-abdominal pressure

Arteriovenous fistulae

Signs & Symptoms

Varicose veins can be asymptomatic. If symptoms do appear, they can be mild to severe. These include:

Feeling of heaviness in the legs
Feeling of tightness and congestion in the legs
Tenderness in the area of the veins
Edema of the legs
Orthostatic edema
Swollen ankles
Night cramps
Tired leg muscles
Enlargement and darkness of the veins
Diffuse, dull aches after prolonged standing or walking
Fatigue
Pressure of palpable nodules
Incompetency
Stasis pigmentation of the calves and ankles

If not treated, the following symptoms may appear:

Infection
Bruises
Ulceration
Blood clot
Thrombosis
Gangrene

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Circulatory Support

---------------------------------
General Supplements
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Adult
Calcium 400 - 600 mg
Copper 1 - 2 mg
EPO*
Fiber*
Ginkgo biloba*
Magnesium 200 - 300 mg
PCO**
Vitamin C1,000 - 4,000 mg
Vitamin E 400 - 800 IU
Zinc 10 - 30 mg



* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
** PCO = Proanthocyanidins or Pycnogenol

Note 1: The herbal supplement: Ginkgo biloba is also used, beyond its better-known uses in the cerebro-vascular system. The standardized extract seems to be preferred (40 mg t.i.d.).

Fiber refers, specifically, to bran (e.g. oat).

Note 2: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Varicosities are rarely seen in populations where unrefined, fiber-rich carbohydrates comprise a large portion of the diet. In contrast, they are prevalent in societies accustomed to refined, westernized diets. This observation gives rise to the hypothesis that varicose veins are associated with the consumption of a diet which is deficient in fiber. There is some biological basis for this theory; stools which contain little fiber have a slower passage time through the intestines. These stools become harder and denser due to the increased resorption of water that occurs in the intestine. The strain exerted during elimination of the hardened feces increases venous pressure in the abdomen and legs. This increased pressure might then collapse a vein and produce the condition termed varicose veins.

While there is no conclusive evidence to prove the relationship of fiber and varicosities, an individual might choose a High Fiber Diet for its proven effects against diverticulosis and constipation, as well as its possible protection against varicose veins.

Homeopathic Remedy

1. Fluoricum acidum - 15C
2. Lycopus virginicus - 30C
3.* Hamamelis virginica - 30C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.

Legend

X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


References

Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches

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Herbs
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Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus)
Ginkgo biloba
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)
Horse chestnut (Conkers)

Varicose Ulcers (Hoffmann)

Goldenseal
Horse Chestnut (Conkers)
Marigold
Marshmallow

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Discussion:

Butcher's broom contains ruscogenins which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictor effects. It is believed that they improve the tonus of the venous wall.

Gotu kola has the demonstrated ability to enhance the vein wall, reduce hardening of the vein and improve blood flow. 80% of participants in the European trials received significant improvement. This is attributed to its bioflavonoid content. Another bioflavonoid with an affinity for the circulation is Ginkgo biloba.

Horse Chestnut (Conkers) has become the third leading phytomedicinal product in Germany, with annual sales in excess of $50 million (1996).

Horse Chestnut and witch hazel leaf and bark are recommended by the German Commission E.

Other flavonoid products may also be employed: bilberry, grape seed and pine bark, for example.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Cappelli, R et al., Use of extract of Ruscus aculeatus in venous disease in the lower limbs. Drugs Exp. Clin. Res. 1988, 14:277-283.

Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

Marastoni,, F et al., Centella asiatica in venous pathology of the lowe rlimbs and its evaluation as compared with tribenoside. Minerva Cardioangiol. 1982, 30:201-207.

Pointel, JP et al., Titrated extract of Centella asiatica (TECA) in the treatment of venous inufficiency of the lower limbs.

Rudofsky, G: Improving venous tone and capillary sealing. Effect of a combination of Ruscus extract and hesperidine methyl chalcone in healthy probands in heat stress. Forschr. Med. 1989, 107(17):52, 55-58.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Calendula Essence,Cypress Essence,
Lavender Essence,Lemon Essence.


Related Health Conditions

AcheAging
Blood clotBruise
CrampFatigue
InfectionMenopause
ObesityPain
PregnancyThrombosis
Thrombophlebitis



Abstracts

References

Aglian? M et al., Vasa vasorum of superficial collecting lymphatics of human thigh. Lymphology, 1997 Sep, 30:3, 116-21.

Ashwell M: Obesity in men and women [see comments]. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 1994 Jun, 18 Suppl 1:, S1-7.

Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. Keats, 1983.

Burkitt, D.P. 1979. Mechanical Effects of Fibre with Reference to Appendicitis Hiatus Hernia, Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins. Dietary Fibre Current Developments of Importance to Health. Heaton, K.W., ed. John Libbey and Co., London.

Coleridge Smith PD: Pathogenesis of chronic venous insufficiency and possible effects of compression and pentoxifylline. Yale J Biol Med, 1993 Jan-Feb, 66:1, 47-59.

Guyton, A.C. 1976. Textbook Of Medical Physiology 5th ed. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 1194 pp.

Haeger, K. Long-Term Study of Intermittent Claudication and Tocopherol. Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences, 393. 1982.

Hamilton, H.K. ed. 1982. Professional Guide To Diseases Intermed Communications Inc. Pub, Springfield, Massachusetts. 1323 pp.

Heinerman, John. 1982. Herbal Dynamics. Root of Life, Inc.: Publ.

Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: New York.

Melet, J.I. Western Diet - Risk Factors for Varices and Explanation of Their Different Frequencies. Phlebologie, 34. 1981.

Melet, J.J. The Importance of Nutrition Among Risk Factors in Varicose Veins. Phlebologie, 34. 1981.

Murry, M.T., & J.E. Pizzarno. 1991. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, Ca; Prima Publishing.

Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed. McGraw Hill Pub Co., New York. 2212 pp.

Royal College of Physicians. 1980. Medical Aspects of Dietary Fiber - A Rprt from Royal Col of Phys. Pitman Med Lmtd, Kent, Engl. 175 pp.

Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.