Varicose veins are the bulged and twisted veins found on your legs just under your skin. They are one of the most common body conditions but are seldom dangerous or life-threatening.
How to Know if You Need Treatment
Two types of these veins typically occur in the legs. The first one, superficial veins, are harmless and appear just under the skin, and are visibly prominent. Deep veins are caused by the muscles in your legs, squeezing the veins during activities such as walking, running, or exercising.
How do They Form
Your veins typically contain a one-way valve that allows the flow of blood from legs to the heart. When the normal functioning of this valve fails, blood tends to flow back down the veins and exerts pressure on the legs. This excess pressure results in the widening of the veins. When these veins develop, you will see a spider-like vein structure that is discolored and appearing like bruises.
Who is at Risk
You are at risk for developing varicose veins for many reasons. You might be predisposed to them because of heredity, underlying health conditions, or hormonal fluctuation. Women are more likely to have varicose veins than men for reasons including pregnancy, menopause, puberty, and other hormonal-induced body changes. The veins can also be brought about by certain medications and birth control pills.
Varicose veins are very common among pregnant women during their initial trimester. This is due to increased estrogens and blood volume that cause veins to enlarge. Additionally, pressure on the veins can be exerted involuntarily from the enlarged uterus in pregnant women.
Another risk factor for varicose veins is prolonged sitting and an idle lifestyle.
In an otherwise healthy person, these veins do not cause adverse health problems other than cosmetic issues. In other words, the veins can be a significant cause of concern only for those who feel it as a nuisance or embarrassment.
The condition in some individuals can cause mild discomfort and a feeling of heaviness as well. Sometimes, aching may be present, which may worsen as you sit or stand for an extended period. You might develop swelling in your ankles, as well. If the symptoms are severe enough to cause other health issues, you should seek immediate medical attention from a specialist.
You might develop skin ulcerations on or near your varicose veins. If the varicose vein is close to the skin, there is the possibility you could bleed if you injure the area. If the bleeding doesn’t stop with compression or your ulcers become worse, it is necessary that you see your doctor immediately.
Treatment for varicose veins depends on the severity of your condition. You can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with varicose veins on your own. You should elevate your legs every evening for ten to fifteen minutes to help with the blood flow in your lower extremities. Try wearing compression socks or stockings, which will compress your muscles and support the blood flow through your veins. You can also take an anti-inflammatory for any swelling or pain you might have.
If your varicose veins are causing you serious health problems, then you will need more invasive treatments. Your doctor for varicose vein treatment might recommend laser treatment, where they will use light energy directly on the vein to cause it to fade and disappear.
Another option is sclerotherapy, where your doctor injects a foam or chemical solution into the vein causing it to collapse so it can no longer transport blood. There is also the possibility of your doctor surgically removing or stripping a varicose vein in more serious situations.
If you are suffering from varicose veins, there are treatment options other there for you. Don’t let this cosmetic issue become more serious!
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