WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?
Varicose veins look like blue gnarled ropes on the surface of your legs and feet, and it can be an embarrassing condition for many people. Here’s what you need to know about this condition, what you can do about it, and when it may be a sign of something serious.
Your veins have a system of one-way valves that keep blood from flowing back to your feet as your heart pumps. When these valves start to wear out, the blood flows backward and pools in the veins. This causes the vein to bloat and twist, resulting in the undesired look. While any vein in the body could develop this condition, the legs are the most common given that naturally through activity, those valves work the hardest over time.
In its most mild form, they can make your legs look bumpy and gnarled. However, sensations of pain and heaviness can occur if proper treatment isn’t sought out. This will usually increase in the evenings or when you’ve been standing or sitting for a long time. What’s happening is that the blood isn’t moving out fast enough and ultimately ends up putting pressure on the nerves.
This is a danger sign, especially if there doesn’t seem to be a visible cause. A visual symptom of this occurring can be if a vein turns red, becomes more swollen, or gets inflamed, that’s a sign to go see a doctor to check for a clot. While not as serious as a clot deeper in the body, clotting near the skin can be a warning sign of deeper venous trouble. Additionally, varicose veins can cause a form of dermatitis on their own. If your skin gets itchy, flaky, or starts bleeding near the vein, that’s another sign to see a doctor.
VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT
Fortunately, there are treatments. If the pain is mild, there are treatments your doctor can teach you to do self-care at home, such as wearing compression stockings, elevating your feet, increased exercise, and the use of pain medication. But sometimes a vein requires treatment.
In rare cases, varicose veins can cause skin ulcers and other serious complications. If you have varicose veins, see a doctor right away for treatment options. Many varicose vein treatment options are covered by insurance and there are several advanced forms of treatment. However, once your veins start to become varicose, there’s often little that can be done to prevent new varicose veins from developing in the future.