COVID 19 has put a ‘hold’ on many aspects of our lives including the treatment of some of our medical conditions. This is likely going to be the new norm for the rest of 2020. Like every other challenge that life throws at us we will eventually overcome it or at least adapt to it. Life goes on!
At Yarra Vascular Surgeons we have taken several steps to help our patients during the COVID 19 pandemic. Some of these steps include bulk billing for all, telehealth whenever possible and limiting the number of patients visiting during an appointment to maximise social distancing.
Another way we can help during the COVID 19 pandemic is to provide reliable up to date information regarding vascular conditions and in many cases explain what you can do to stabilise your condition.
The format we have chosen is Q&A. These are some of the most common questions that we receive during our consultations with Patients.
Lets get right into it:
How do I reduce the risk of my varicose veins getting worse?
The short answer is to wear Graduated Compression Stockings.
Varicose veins are dilated tortuous subcutaneous veins that have malfunctioning valves. Blood pools in these veins and causes further pressure build up that in turn causes further dilation. To learn more about varicose veins please visit our youtube channel for a series of videos on this subject https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN6iGNSvA0A3_yj1dYgTe5A
To stop this vicious cycle, one of the first things we can do is to ‘compress’ these veins and push the blood out of these malfunctioning veins and into healthier deep veins. This is done by wearing graduated compression stockings. These stockings not only need to apply compression but also be graduated which means these apply more pressure at the ankle and gradually less and less pressure as we go up the leg. This way blood is pushed up the leg which is the correct direction in veins.
Graduated compression stockings come in different sizes, colours but more importantly pressures. The most common grades of pressure are class 1, 2 and 3. Class 1 which are otherwise known as ‘flight socks’ and are best worn to prevent deep veins thrombosis. Class 2 are best suited to patients with varicose veins and Class 3 which apply much more pressure and are best used for patients with lymphoedema.
If you have varicose veins and don’t have other circulatory abnormalities like peripheral arterial disease (blocked arteries) we recommend that you wear below knee class 2 graduated compression stockings when out of bed as often as possible. You should try to put your stockings on soon after you wake up in the morning and take these off in the evening when you finally get a chance to put your feet up.
The stockings need to be sized correctly and this done at most pharmacies that supply them. If you suffer from severe pain or discoloration in the leg or foot after wearing the compression stockings you must obviously remove these immediately and see your doctor before wearing these again.
By wearing graduated compression stockings you can significantly reduce the risk of complications from varicose veins until such time that you can avascular surgeon and get definitive treatment for them.
We hope you have found this information helpful. For more information on varicose veins please visit our website and you tube channel.