Our veins are an integral part of the body. Veins are the small tubes that run throughout your body delivering blood to your heart for re-oxygenation. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the human body has over 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels.
A common misconception is that your arteries and veins are the same thing. This is actually not true. Although they are both blood vessels, arteries are actually a bit smaller than veins and are used to deliver oxygenated blood from your heart to other parts of the body. Veins, on the other hand, bring blood back into your heart for oxygenation. This cycle is very important to our health since it allows for oxygen to be dispersed throughout our body and produce energy. This also means that since they are such an integral part of our body, that we need to take care of our veins and keep an eye out for anything concerning.
What Do Healthy Veins Look Like?
Let’s start with what a healthy vein looks like. It’s pretty common to look down at your hands or arms and see a few veins, especially because the skin in these areas of the body is so thin. To the naked eye, these veins often appear a bit blue or even greenish. That is actually due to the color of your blood running through the veins and how your eye perceives it. Veins themselves are typically fairly colorless.
So don’t panic if your veins look a little bit blue, that’s not uncommon. If however, your veins or arteries suddenly begin bulging or turning a dark color, those may be warning signs of underlying health conditions. If you perceive any sudden changes such as these, it may be time to consult with your doctor.
Also keep in mind that since veins and arteries are carrying your blood, sudden abnormalities can indicate a problem with your blood pressure, not just the veins themselves.
Are Blue Veins Dangerous?
Although this is a common concern, as we mentioned earlier, blue veins are fairly normal and don’t in and of themselves indicate that anything is wrong. If however, you notice that your veins have begun bulging or are particularly visible, you should still mention this to your doctor. These could be symptoms of varicose or spider veins. Although typically not life-threatening, if accompanied by other symptoms, varicose and spider veins can occasionally be symptoms of an underlying health problem.
Varicose veins are veins that have become swollen and twisted. They are typically bluish or purplish in color and bulge more so than regular veins. They are caused when there is an increase in blood pressure in your veins, and your vein valves are damaged. In these cases, with nowhere for the blood to go, the blood pools and begins stretching your veins, creating visible bulging or “knotted” areas.
Some common risk factors for varicose veins are:
- Gender (women are more prone to varicose veins).
- Excessive pressure on the legs (ex, standing or walking for long periods of time).
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
Varicose veins are not typically dangerous per se. Having said that, they can occasionally indicate an underlying condition or develop complications. Some possible complications include ulcers, blood clots, and minor bleeding. Having said that, these complications are not very common.
Many people do however feel that varicose veins are visually unappealing, and there are a variety of possible treatments that can improve the appearance of these veins.
Can Varicose Veins Be Dangerous During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, extra pressure is put on your blood vessels, often resulting in varicose veins. Although unpleasant, it’s a fairly common side effect of pregnancy and is usually harmless. These pregnancy-related varicose veins often recede after your pregnancy, once your weight and body are back to normal. Keep in mind, however, that just like with other varicose veins, there is always a chance of complications and you should immediately consult with your doctor if you notice anything concerning. Elevating your feet, wearing maternity support hose, and gently exercising can help prevent varicose veins during pregnancy.
Are Bleeding Varicose Veins Dangerous?
Occasionally, the pressure building up inside a varicose vein can cause the vein to rupture and bleed. If this happens, it’s important to stem the bleeding as fast as possible and apply pressure to the wound. Since it is a vein being ruptured, the wound can often bleed a lot more than expected from an ordinary injury. If the bleeding is excessive or you have a pre-existing health condition that can put your life at risk, calling 911 might be necessary. Regardless, if you do experience bleeding from varicose veins, consult with your doctor about possible treatments and steps going forward.
What Causes Varicose Veins In One Leg?
Seeing varicose veins in just one of your legs isn’t too uncommon. Varicose veins happen when your veins experience excess blood pressure and/or your vein valves are damaged. This can easily happen at different rates depending on how much pressure you put on different legs.
Spider veins are thin damaged veins that appear just under the skin. They look like small red or purple threads and are distinguishable by the fact that they’re significantly thinner and closer to the surface than varicose veins. Similarly to varicose veins, these occur when your vein valves are damaged and blood begins pooling. You might think of these as a milder variety of varicose veins.
Are Spider Veins Dangerous?
Like varicose veins, spider veins are typically not harmful. Having said that, for cosmetic reasons, many people choose to get treatment for this condition. Occasionally, spider and varicose veins can also cause tenderness or pain. In these cases, you should let your doctor know that you’re experiencing discomfort and talk through possible treatments.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Veins?
There are multiple procedures that can improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins.
Here are some common ones:
- Sclerotherapy: During Sclerotherapy, your doctor injects a solution into your veins that causes the veins to eventually collapse and be reabsorbed back into your body. In the meantime, the blood that was previously flowing through this vein will reroute into another vein.
- Laser therapy: A number of effective laser treatments exist that can address varicose and spider veins. For example, Laser Vein Ablation is a common procedure that uses laser energy to seal up damaged veins and redirect blood to healthy veins.
- At-Home Treatments: Although it’s always best to consult your doctor just to be on the safe side, home treatments are often effective for minor cases of varicose veins. For example, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings and doing light exercises.
The Vein Centre Near Nashville, TN
The Vein Centre is open and servicing clients in the Tennessee area. We offer a number of treatments for varicose veins and spider veins, as well as other vein and artery-related health conditions. This includes sclerotherapy, laser ablation, Varithena®, VenaSeal™, and much more. Our vein clinic has locations in Mt. Juliet and Belle Meade. Our Belle Meade location is conveniently located just minutes from Nashville, well within driving distance.
The Vein Centre accepts Medicare as well as most major insurance plans. In fact, we do everything we can to contact your insurance provider and get an estimate of what they are willing to cover for your procedure. Since conditions such as vein disease are considered serious medical conditions, they are often covered to at least some extent. Having said that, it’s always best to get an estimate and contact your insurance provider. Since varicose vein treatments can be considered cosmetic depending on how serious the case is, these treatments may or may not be covered depending on your provider.
The Vein Centre is currently open and accepting new patients, but we are following the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines. Your health is our top priority, and we make sure to do everything we can to keep our patients as safe as possible. Feel free to go online or call to schedule your own appointment with the Vein Centre. We look forward to seeing you!