What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are visible signs of underlying venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. Poor circulation caused by damaged vein valves causes blood to pool within the lower extremities. When blood isn’t circulated properly, this can cause symptoms such as swelling, heaviness, muscle cramping, skin discoloration, non-healing wounds, or even blood clots.
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins may become more prominent or visible as your underlying vein disease progresses. These visible signs of vein disease may or may not be accompanied by painful symptoms. There are various aspects that may influence the development of vein disease such as:
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time – staying in the same position does not promote healthy blood flow
- Current or former smokers – smoking weakens your veins, reducing blood flow
- Lack of exercise – living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscles not being able to pump blood successfully
Anyone can develop vein disease, however, there are some factors that increase your risk, such as:
- People over the age of 50 – age puts more strain on your veins causing them to weaken over time
- Women – hormone changes make women more at risk than men
- Pregnancy – increased blood volume during pregnancy can enlarge your veins
- Obesity – extra weight can put more pressure on your veins
- Family history of blood clots or vein disease – genetics plays a key role in the development of vein disease
- High blood pressure – can increase your risk of vein valves malfunctioning
Managing a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help reduce your risk of developing vein disease; however, there are many aspects that play a role in their formation. Treating the underlying condition before it gets worse is one of the best things you can do for your vein health. Take our 2-minute quiz to learn more about your symptoms.
Why does venous insufficiency make it painful to stand?
One of the most common symptoms of vein disease is having difficulty standing for long periods of time. Due to the fact that damaged vein valves are not circulating your blood flow properly, this may cause your legs to feel heavy or fatigued. Walking may even feel like a you have excess weight on your legs or that you have to exert more energy to move them.
Poor circulation caused by venous insufficiency often leads to swelling and inflammation. This can cause mild to severe pain that may negatively impact your daily life. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from your body’s white blood cells are released into the blood flow and/or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign substances. When this occurs, some of those same chemicals may cause a leak of fluid into the tissues, which causes your legs to swell. This protective process may stimulate nerves and cause you pain. You may even notice after you’ve been walking or standing that your legs are more swollen then they were when you were sitting down.
During warm weather, inflammation may be triggered more frequently and cause even more pain. It’s important to keep hydrated and wear compression stockings if you are planning on standing or walking frequently throughout the day. Vein treatment can fix broken valves which is effective at eliminating inflammation and blood pooling.
How painful symptoms impact daily life
Experiencing pain while standing or walking can have an enormous impact on your routine. If your job requires you to be active or stand for prolonged periods of time, inflammation may increase and cause you to struggle with chronic pain. Many people who experience pain while standing avoid activities like visiting an aquarium, standing in line at an amusement park, standing at sports games, or anywhere else that requires a long wait.
Other times your symptoms may impact your daily life include:
- Having to rely on over-the-counter pain medication to get through the day.
- Constantly wearing compression stockings to work.
- Avoiding activities or jobs that require standing or walking.
- Living sedentary life to avoid painful symptoms.
- Cancelling plans with friends or family when it involves prolonged activity.
- Not being able to successfully manage weight due to pain while exercising.
- Making daily decisions on what you can do based on the amount of pain your experiencing that day.
Allowing your symptoms to take over is not a healthy way to deal with the pain. Thankfully, there are nonsurgical, outpatient treatment options that provide you with lasting relief, as well as allowing you to return to normal activities the same day.
Finding comprehensive vein treatment near you
If you’re seeking treatment for vein conditions such as varicose veins, USA Vein Clinics can help. We’re a network of trusted care facilities committed to improving lives through the minimally invasive treatment of venous insufficiency, the common disease behind varicose veins and many other symptoms.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) closes damaged veins through utilizing laser energy. Once the veins are close, blood is naturally rerouted to healthy veins that can circulate the blood flow properly. This will improve your overall circulation, as well as reduce inflammation, swelling, and leg fatigue. Treating the underlying condition can help make it easier to walk and stand for long periods without pain.
If you’re ready to take the next step with us to healthier legs and veins, give us a call at 888-768-3467 or schedule online to get instant insurance verification, 24/7.