Incidence of varicose veins high in Goa

By Pankajbala R Patel

ARE you suffering from varicose veins? You may now find relief in getting them treated with a laser machine which the Goa Medical College & Hospital has acquired, this is the Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) machine which enables non-surgical solutions to the problem of varicose veins which may range from serious to small beginning problems which may be nipped before they become more painful and problematic.
Varicose veins afflict most men and women as the years catch up with them and across the 40s, when they have been in long standing jobs like that of being teachers, bus conductors, even nurses and surgeons. In Goa it varicose veins are a frequent problem and patients present with them in various stages of severity at GMC Casualty.
Introducing media people to the newly acquired Endovenous Lasdr Ablation (EVLA) machine, on May 22, 2024 GMC Dean Dr Shivanand M Bandekar said that the incidence of varicose veins in Goa is high, its incidence is almost around 20-25% of the population. Till date doctors have been treating varicose veins with invasive surgery which proves to be ineffective for there is a high rate of reoccurrence of the problem. There are multiple surgical procedures for treating varicose vein problems but at the end of it there is very little patients’ satisfaction and they return with a recurring varicose problems…with the procedures enabled by the new Endovenous Laser Ablations machine the patient could return to work the next day and it’s generally been observed that there is less reoccurrence.
Varicose veins may vary from mild to severe with the presentation of ulcers. What are varicose veins? We are familiar enough with these raised or protruding veins running down our legs, they make for an ugly sight but can also be very painful. Most of us ignore them in the beginning, thinking they will go away wishfully. They won’t go away unless you do something about it!
Varicose veins begin when the veins turn weak along with weakened walls and there are breaks and stretches of a vein with its valves become dysfunctional and blood movement in one direction is sluggish…blood will back up and pool in pockets, thus causing the raised ridges and bulges on the surface of the skin down the legs right up to the ankles, these varicose veins may be thick, bluish or grayish and circulation is definitely affected.
A condition of varicose veins from the ankles upwards can be very painful and virtually make a patient immobile. The troublesome veins may be removed surgically but it can be a recurring problem and it is hoped that the new laser machine procedures will be more painless, effective and see happier patients. For some reason laser procedures are seen as a non-surgical a procedure and in the case of the new technique for laser treatment for varicose veins a small 2mm hole is made in the vein below the knee joint and laser beams ensure the burning of the vein at 120 degree, it virtually coagulates and ceases to be a problem.
Presently they’re treating the worst cases on a priority basis for patients who come to GMC’s OPD with complaints of bothersome varicose veins making life difficult to live. It is the department of interventional radiology which will decide the priority of cases, said Dr Bandekar, the interventional radiologist is Dr Pawan Kumar, he with his trained team will be operating the EVLA machine which offers non-surgical solutions to various varicose problems which occur from mild to severe.
According to Dr Pawan Kumar varicose veins are problematic for those with long standing jobs and there’s a hereditary factor too. Worst case scenarios present with ulcers in the veins and these have to be treated on an emergency basis. Interestingly, in the initial stages obesity plays a role in the problem of varicose veins in later life. Most varicose patients present with itching, pain, aching lower legs, muscle cramps, ankle swelling and discolorations of lipodermatosclerosis and ulcerations.
Such patients may find relief with the new laser treatment or therapy which is usually an hour long procedure. The treatment is being offered free to patients at the GMC and so far they have treated about 25 patients, on an average of ten procedures every day. Their Cath Lab staff is already experienced in dealing with life-threatening situations like aneurysms where one sees the bursting of a vein somewhere in the body, this is also to do with weak veins combined with high blood pressure in patients. Most patients tend to ignore blood pressure which is seen as the most silent killer of them all in human life.
How much a laser treatment for varicose veins cost? At the GMC it’s a free for patients but in private hospitals it may add up to Rs70,000 to a Rs1 lakh plus, plus. According to GMC Dean Dr Bandekar, their Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane has congratulated the hospital for acquiring the lazer machine (costing about Rs20 lakh?) which will be a boon to the many patients who come to the GMC with varicose and other vascular problems
This is also to say in conclusion that if you’re in job which entails over ten hours of standing as may be the case with a chef, teacher, bus conductor, driver, police force, musician, even women who are pregnant are vulnerable, etc, be conscious of how varicose veins occur and make being on the move a lifestyle motto! Don’t let blood stagnate anywhere in your body, improve your diet with lots of vitamin C in it and move, move, move. Varicose veins happen over time and although rarely life-threatening they are considered as a morbidity to attend to today instead of tomorrow.
The GMC’s Cath Lab sees at least ten patients on an average with vascular disease. Yes, varicose veins are a vascular disease and can take a toll on cardiac efficiency over time. To a query Dr Pawan said there is no need to fear laser treatment, it is used frequently in eye surgery too to treat retina problems. Laser therapy is a safe therapy.

Something about your arteries, veins and capillaries…

IN an overview of the vascular system we know that the vascular system is made up of the vessels that carry blood and lymph fluid through the body. It’s also called the circulatory system. Arteries, veins and capillaries carry blood with oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and they also remove tissue waste via lymphatic fluid in lymph vessels.
The vessels of the blood circulatory system which are arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the rest of the body; the veins are the blood vessels that carry blood from the body back to the heart. It is the capillaries or tiny network of blood vessels between arteries and veins which distribute oxygen-rich blood to body tissues to keep you alive and kicking.
As blood moves through capillaries the oxygen and nutrients move into cells. Then waste matter from the cells, goes into capillaries and blood leaves capillaries, moves through veins which are larger tubes to carry blood back to the heart. The vascular system is an important part of the body and linked to the respiratory system, digestive system, kidneys and urinary system, temperature control.
A vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries and veins and most often this is due to the disturbance in blood flow. When this happens the blood vessels become weaker and cause damage to the valves in veins. Organs and other body areas are harmed by vascular disease due to partial or fully-blocked blood flow in arteries, veins or capillaries.
Atherosclerosis is a serious vascular disease in which there is build-up of plaque of fatty substance in blood vessels. It is a slow, ongoing disease which gets worse if not treated with lifestyle changes and medications as required. Sometimes blood clots or a tiny mass of debris block the blood stream and there is inflammation of the vessels, vasculities leads to narrowing and blockage of blood vessels.
Some conditions of the body’s vascular system are inherited and therefore genetic. There is also peripheral venous disease whereby there is deep vein thrombosis, that is there is a blood clot deep in a vein in the muscles of the leg. It the cause of varicose veins. There is also abdominal vascular disease and thoracic vascular disease, peripheral arterial disease caused by claudication. It causes pain in the thigh, calf muscles, buttocks, while walking. Critical limb ischemia may result due to lack of blood supply and oxygen in legs even while at rest.
Do no neglect what’s happening to your feet because very often it is the condition of your feet and legs which indicates what’s damaging your body from the inside out and thus, shortening life.

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