Varicose veins are usually not a cause for concern. Dangerous complications are possible, but they are uncommon.
Varicose veins are relatively common, affecting approximately 23% of adults.
These dark veins tend to protrude from beneath the skin, making them easy to spot. They are most commonly found on the lower legs, but they can appear anywhere.
Continue reading to learn more about varicose veins, potential complications, and warning signs that you should see a doctor.
Varicose Veins Are a Medical Term That Refers to Spider Veins
Veins that are swollen and twisted, causing them to bulge, are known as varicose veins. You can feel the bumps if you run your fingers over them. They usually have a purplish-blue or red color to them.
Varicose veins can appear anywhere on the body. You might be surprised to learn that hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein.
Varicose veins can appear anywhere, but they are most commonly found in the legs. This is due to the fact that veins in the legs must work against gravity to circulate blood.
So, what is it that causes these veins to swell?
Varicose veins are caused by an increase in blood pressure in the veins. If the valves in your blood vessels are weak or damaged, you may develop varicose veins.
The valves inside your veins function by ensuring that blood flows in only one direction and not backward. When these valves fail, blood can pool in the vein rather than flow forward. As a result, the vein may stretch and twist.
Varicose veins can affect anyone. They are more common in women, which could be due to hormonal changes. Because of the effect of aging on veins, they are also more common in older adults.
Other factors that can increase your risk are as follows:
- Prolonged standing or sitting
What is it about spider veins?
You’ve probably heard of spider veins, which are related to varicose veins.
Spider veins are smaller groups of twisted veins that are typically red or blue in color. They can be seen beneath the skin, but they do not protrude.
Spider veins are painless and typically appear on the face or legs. While spider veins are unsightly, they are not physically harmful.
Is it a health danger for varicose veins?
Varicose veins in the majority of people do not cause substantial complications. Complications are uncommon, although they can include the following:
- clots in the blood (thrombophlebitis)
- minor bleeding on the skin near the varicose veins
- minor bleeding near the varicose veins
According to research, people with varicose veins are more likely to:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a blood clot forms in a deep vein, commonly in the thigh or lower leg, this is known as deep vein thrombosis.
- Pulmonary embolism is a type of blood clot in the lungs. This occurs when a blood clot breaks off and goes to the lungs, posing a life-threatening situation.
More research is needed to see if the association between these diseases is due to a shared set of risk factors.
What signs and symptoms should you be on the lookout for?
Varicose veins, for the most part, aren’t a cause for concern. You may experience various symptoms in addition to the external look of these veins, such as: Leg heaviness and fatigue muscle cramping pain when you sit or stand for a long period throbbing or aching in the vein area itching, burning around the vein dry, irritated skin leg heaviness and fatigue
If you’re worried about your veins or can’t seem to get rid of the pain they produce, see your doctor.
If you detect any of the following symptoms in relation to your varicose veins, seek medical help:
- Darker patches of skin
- bleeding veins
- uncomfortable, hot veins
- continuous discomfort and swelling
It’s possible that a blood clot will break free and go to the lungs, posing a life-threatening situation. The most typical sign of a pulmonary embolism is shortness of breath, which can be sudden or progressive. Other signs and symptoms could include:
- Anxiety-related chest discomfort
- dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- heart rate fluctuation; a fast heartbeat
- coughing up blood
Call local emergency number right once if you suffer shortness of breath, with or without any of the symptoms listed above.
Varicose veins are treated in a variety of ways
Treatment for varicose veins isn’t always necessary. They can, however, deteriorate, increasing the risk of problems.
Compression stockings can help reduce discomfort by improving the function of your veins and leg muscles. Compression stockings are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies and medical supply stores, or your doctor can write a prescription for a specific variety.
Here are a few more things to consider:
- Varicose veins that form during pregnancy may self-correct.
- Even if your main issue is their appearance, you can seek treatment.
- Self-care techniques such as regular exercise or using compression stockings aren’t always enough to alleviate varicose vein pain, irritation, or other concerns.
Your doctor may offer the following treatments if your varicose veins aren’t severe:
Sclerotherapy – This is a treatment in which a solution is injected into the veins, producing scarring and shrinkage. Within a few weeks, varicose veins should disappear. The procedure can be completed in the comfort of your own doctor’s office.
Treatment with a laser – There are no needles or incisions in this treatment. Instead, light bursts are directed into little varicose veins, which fade away over time.
If your varicose veins are more advanced or persistent, your doctor may suggest:
Catheter-assisted radiofrequency or laser energy – Larger varicose veins may benefit more from these operations.
High ligation and vein stripping – A vein is closed off before it links to a deep vein in this technique. Small incisions are used to extract the vein.
Ambulatory phlebectomy – Smaller varicose veins are removed using minor skin punctures in this treatment.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery – is a procedure that involves the use of a small camera This is usually a last resort surgery. When leg ulcers are present and other therapies have failed, it is likely to be utilized.
How to avoid Varicose Veins
Although you may not be able to totally prevent varicose veins, you can take efforts to reduce your risk of developing them.
If you already have minor varicose veins, following steps may help keep them from worsening.
- Every day, engage in some form of physical activity. This can assist in improving circulation and preventing blood from accumulating in veins.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight puts additional strain on your veins.
- Reduce your salt intake. Too much salt can induce fluid retention and elevate blood pressure.
- Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight or wearing high heels. These can reduce blood flow and make it easier for blood to pool in veins that are already weak.
- Raise your legs above your heart. This can help reduce fluid retention and blood pooling in your legs if done numerous times a day.
- Long periods of standing or sitting should be avoided. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move for a few minutes every hour. If you can, try to elevate your legs.
- Smoking should be avoided. Nicotine causes blood arteries to constrict, limiting blood flow. Smoking damages the walls of blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and increases the risk of blood clots.
Last but not least
Varicose veins are black, bulging veins that commonly affect the legs. Although these veins are rarely hazardous, problems such as blood clots, hemorrhage, and skin ulcers can occur.
If you have varicose veins, self-care procedures like elevating your legs and using compression stockings can help.
Injections, laser therapy, and surgery are used to treat more severe cases. Even if your primary issue is cosmetic, you can receive therapy.
If you have any concerns about veins that appear to be unusual to you, consult your doctor about potential consequences and treatment choices.