Varicose veins are a common condition in which veins near the surface of the skin, typically in the legs, become swollen and twisted. Over 20% of adults will have varicose veins at some point in their lives. While varicose veins are usually a cosmetic concern, like spider veins, some people experience discomfort or pain from them, which can indicate more serious problems.
Learning how to identify and treat varicose veins early on will help improve your outcome and decrease the chances of complications. Modern Heart and Vascular focuses on prevention and minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and other cardiovascular conditions.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are blood vessels just under the skin that appear enlarged, twisted or bulging. While any superficial vein can become varicose, the legs are the most commonly affected area. Your blood vessels have walls and valves that move blood throughout the body. When those veins become weak or damaged, blood can pool up and cause swelling.
Rare but serious complications include blood clots, ulcers and bleeding. If you experience any of these issues, seek immediate medical attention. A doctor or health care provider should evaluate even minor bleeding.
Varicose Veins Symptoms
Varicose veins have both cosmetic and physical symptoms. Common signs include bulging, bluish or purple veins and other skin color changes. Some people may experience swelling, aching, itching, cramps or a heaviness in their affected legs. These and other symptoms might worsen when you stand or sit for long periods.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins develop when blood vessel walls or valves are damaged or weakened. High blood pressure is a common source of this damage. When your blood pressure is high, it puts greater stress on your veins, leading to damage.
Several risk factors can increase your chances of getting varicose veins. Age, inactivity and obesity can all contribute to blood vessel damage or weakness. People who sit or stand for long periods are also at an increased risk because lack of movement affects blood flow. Genetics and your family history may also indicate a predisposition to varicose veins.
While anyone can have varicose veins, women are more likely to develop this condition. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause all create hormones that can lead to the formation of varicose veins.
Treating Varicose Veins
To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor or health care provider will examine your legs or the area around the enlarged veins. They might also request an ultrasound or venogram to get a better look at the veins and rule out other complications.
Depending on the severity and symptoms of your varicose veins, treatment can include lifestyle changes, medication, physical therapy and surgeries. Regular exercise, losing weight and wearing compression stockings can help relieve pain, improve your circulation and prevent complications associated with varicose veins. More invasive treatment options such as surgery may be necessary for advanced cases.
How to Prevent a Heart Attack
You can use many of the same varicose vein pain relief strategies to prevent the condition altogether. Eating well, working out regularly and avoiding staying in one position for too long will help reduce your risk of varicose veins.
If you want to learn more about varicose vein treatment and prevention, schedule an appointment with Modern Heart and Vascular today.
This page does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.