Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment
Are you suffering from the effects of swollen, twisted varicose veins? Varicose veins are common, affecting an estimated 40 million adults in the United States. Although some believe that varicose veins are simply a cosmetic issue, we know this isn’t true. If you’ve been diagnosed with varicose veins, you are already aware that varicose vein symptoms can make you feel miserable.
Here’s everything you need to know about the signs and symptoms of varicose veins, along with your vein treatment options.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a sign of an underlying condition called venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. Early-stage varicose veins symptoms can include achiness, swelling, and cramping. Later symptoms can involve serious health conditions like blood clots or venous ulcers. Venous ulcers are non-healing, open wounds that put you at increased risk for infection.
The type of blood clots typically related to varicose veins, Superficial Thrombophlebitis (ST), are not life-threatening, however, they can lead to the development of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is an urgent medical issue that requires immediate treatment.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins in Legs
Varicose vein symptoms can develop when the vein valves in your legs malfunction. When this occurs, your body is unable to efficiently pump blood from the lower extremities back up to the heart. As a result, your blood can’t circulate properly and begins to pool in your legs, ankles, and feet. This process can result in varicose veins, along with a variety of other painful or uncomfortable symptoms of vein disease.
Common Varicose Veins Symptoms
- Heavy Legs: People who live with varicose veins have often reported that one common symptom is heavy legs, or a feeling as if you had weights on your ankles.
- Swelling: Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet is a typical sign of vein disease. If you notice your shoes are feeling tighter or your legs appear swollen, you should get looked at by a doctor.
- Itching and Burning: Sometimes, this gets mistaken for dry skin, but pay attention to the area you are itching. If it’s near your visible veins, it could be linked to vein disease.
- Pain Relief When Legs are Elevated: If you have pain in your legs that tends to subside when you elevate your legs, for example, by propping your legs up on pillows when you sleep.
What Causes Varicose Veins In Legs?
Although just about anyone can develop these painful, unsightly veins, there are some known risk factors. These include:
- Standing or sitting for long periods: If you have a job where you sit or stand throughout the day, you are at increased risk. It may help to move around for short walking breaks as much as possible. If you can’t leave your work space, try stretching or massaging your legs to increase blood flow to your legs, ankles, and feet.
- Being overweight or obese: Carrying excess weight is never good for your health. We recommend making dietary changes and increasing physical activity to lose weight. Ask your doctor about medical weight loss programs for practical and emotional support.
- Having a family history of varicose veins: Unfortunately your risk is higher if you have a close family member with varicose veins symptoms. In this situation, we recommend regular monitoring by a vascular specialist. You should also consider early intervention for the best health outcomes.
- Getting older: Your risk of developing varicose veins increases as you age, with the majority of individuals diagnosed between ages 40-80.
- Being female: Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women are often surprised by the appearance of varicose veins symptoms. These can occur due to increased blood volume –– and the legs aren’t the only area affected. During pregnancy, varicose veins can also develop in the pelvic region.
Minimally-Invasive Treatment for Varicose Veins Symptoms
If your varicose vein pain symptoms are making you miserable, it is probably time to look into treatment. At USA Vein Clinics, our patients are provided with the expertise, compassion, and commitment to the care they deserve. If you have varicose veins in your legs, reach out to our team today to learn more about our treatment options.