New research has shown that the early treatment of varicose veins leads to better, faster ulcer healing. While many people largely associate varicose veins as a mere cosmetic problem, the truth is they have the potential to lead to more severe health conditions.
The longer varicose veins are left untreated, the worse they become. Ulcers are a particular concern, developing due to poor circulation within the lower leg. These can prove challenging to treat, but as the research confirms, treating them early is the key to better ulcer healing.
Treatment within two weeks increases healing by 12%
The new research conducted by the Imperial College, London, revealed that treating ulcers within two weeks by closing off the veins increases healing by 12%.
There were 450 patients with venous ulcers from the UK, involved in the randomised trial. Half of them received treatment within two weeks while the other half received treatment only after the ulcer had healed or after six months if the ulcer still hadn’t healed. They were all required to wear compression stockings too.
Results showed that patients who were treated within two weeks, saw their ulcers healed within 56 days. The patients whose treatment was delayed had a longer healing time of 82 days.
The number of leg ulcer cases is increasing
Part of the reason this new research was conducted is because leg ulcers are on the rise. Obesity rates continue to increase, and our population is ageing, causing concern leg ulcers will continue to be a major problem for our healthcare sector. This means finding ways to treat the ulcers in a cost-effective manner. Identifying that early treatment speeds up ulcer healing is therefore crucial to the industry.
There’s also the fact that leaving ulcers untreated can lead to painful open sores and the development of serious complications. Amputation could eventually be required, which is ultimately much more traumatising to the patient and costlier to the NHS.
What treatment options are available?
There are numerous ways to treat varicose veins and prevent the development of ulcers. Laser treatment does tend to be one of the more effective options. This successfully closes off the faulty vein, leading to faster ulcer healing.
Other treatments are also available, and the type of treatment used on a patient will depend upon numerous factors. Therefore, those who do suspect they have varicose veins should book a consultation with a vein specialist to determine the best course of treatment.