Many of our patients ask if varicose veins are related to heart disease. While both issues involve your blood circulation, the simple answer is no, varicose veins do not indicate heart disease. Nevertheless, they are a sign that something is wrong with your health.
Varicose veins are caused by underlying vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency. This common condition develops when veins are placed under ongoing strain, causing the tiny, one-way valves in your veins to become damaged and eventually malfunction.
Malfunctioning vein valves make it challenging for your body to efficiently send blood back to your heart. Instead, blood begins to pool in various areas of the body –– most commonly, the legs, ankles, and feet. This leads to the formation of varicose veins.
If you are concerned about varicose leg veins, heart disease, and vein disease, keep reading. Although varicose veins are not caused by heart disease, they do have potentially serious health consequences that you should know about.
At USA Vein Clinics, we want to help you understand why varicose veins occur, what your individual risk factors are, and how to find minimally invasive vein treatment when necessary. Here’s what you need to know.
Could Varicose Veins Be a Sign of Heart Disease?
Although it is possible to have both heart and vein disease, varicose veins do not necessarily indicate poor heart health. We understand that this can be confusing, since both conditions involve blood circulation.
Do varicose veins cause heart problems? Varicose veins do not cause heart problems, because they cause blood circulation problems like pooling or reflux (backwards flow), not heart conditions. Even though your veins attach to your heart, having varicose veins is not a symptom of heart disease. The bottom line is that you can have venous issues and still have a perfectly healthy heart.It is important to realize that many of the same risk factors that cause vein disease, such as obesity, inactivity, and poor diet, can also lead to heart disease. If you are at risk, making some recommended lifestyle changes may help you avoid additional health problems.
What Are Varicose Vein Symptoms?
Some individuals are surprised to learn that varicose veins are not merely a cosmetic issue. Instead, they are a sign of vein disease and can cause a range of painful symptoms that limit mobility and impact quality of life.
Common varicose vein symptoms include:
- Heaviness or achiness in the legs
- Leg cramps (especially at night)
- Skin discoloration
If you experience any of the above, we suggest contacting your doctor or a vein specialist for evaluation. Varicose veins can put you at increased risk for developing serious health issues like blood clots and venous ulcers –– open, non-healing wounds that sometimes lead to infection. One type of blood clot that can occur, called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), is a potentially life-threatening medical condition.
The good news is that non-surgical vein treatment can provide quick symptomatic relief. It can also help reduce your risks for developing more serious diseases.
Are You at Risk for Vein Disease?
As mentioned previously, there are many risk factors that can lead to both heart and vein disease. These risk factors include aspects of your lifestyle like obesity, inactivity, poor diet, and smoking, or health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
When it comes to vein disease, age and genetics play important roles. We tend to develop varicose veins as we get older, though anyone can get them at any age. If you have a close relative with vein problems, you are more likely to have them. Women are also considered to be at increased risk, especially during pregnancy.
Individuals with jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting tend to develop varicose veins more often. If this describes you, we recommend taking frequent breaks throughout the day to move around. You can also ask your doctor about the benefits of wearing compression socks.
Are Spider Veins a Sign of Heart Disease?
Similar to varicose veins, spider veins are not a sign of heart disease and usually indicate underlying vein disease. Although they are often considered only a cosmetic issue, spider veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms like swelling, itching, and tenderness. When left untreated, your symptoms may become progressively worse.
Where Can I Find Varicose Vein Treatment?
Varicose veins are a sign of vein disease and our vein specialists are available to help. We want you to know that vein disease is considered progressive: when left untreated, symptoms usually get worse. No matter what symptoms you’re experiencing, there is no need to suffer any longer.
Our empathetic and skilled doctors perform a range of non-surgical, office-based vein procedures that can quickly alleviate pain and discomfort from varicose veins. Most treatments take about an hour from start to finish. You can return to most normal activities immediately.
Along with varicose veins, we treat spider veins, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), venous ulcers, and other venous conditions. All of our treatments are available at over 90 clinic locations across the country. For your convenience, we also offer telemedicine consultations.
If you are ready to say goodbye to painful vein symptoms, schedule an appointment online today. We look forward to helping you restore your vein health!