Varicose veins are swollen & twisted veins that typically occur in your legs but can appear on parts of the body anywhere. Oftentimes, varicose or spider veins can lead to more than just an aesthetics issue. When a vein has varicosed, it looks 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.
What causes varicose veins?
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 an 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.
Spider Veins Are an Early Warning
In their most mild form, spider veins, 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 dangerous 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 blood 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 can be easy if you don’t leave them untreated for a long time. If veins are left to worsen, more invasive vein surgery becomes the only type of surgery available to treat vascular disease.