The swollen, enlarged or twisted veins that you see in legs are known as varicose veins. One develops varicose veins commonly in the legs and feet. It is because the upper body exerts pressure on the legs when you walk or stand upright. Spider veins are smaller and less apparent types of varicose veins.
Varicose veins and spider veins are not usually painful. Most patients get them treated because they look unsightly. Some patients have health problems with varicose veins. They suffer pain and feel uncomfortable while walking or standing.
For some patients, severe circulatory problems occur if varicose veins are not treated, and varicose veins may be a sign that the patient has some severe circulatory condition.
Age causes varicose veins. As you get older, the valves in the veins become weak, and veins are less elastic. Pregnancy is another cause of varicose veins. While the amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, the amount of blood being returned by threads from the legs to the upper part of your body decreases resulting in enlarged veins.
Obesity also causes varicose veins because of the pressure from the upper part of the body on the legs increases. Women are prone to developing varicose veins because female hormones relax the walls of veins. If you need to stand or sit for a long time at work, you may develop varicose veins.
Reducing the Risk
You could reduce the risk of developing varicose veins by a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, making sure that you don’t sit or stand for long periods of time and avoiding high heels and tight stockings.
The first varicose vein symptoms that you see are bulging, enlarged or twisted dark blue or purple veins in clusters looking like clouds on legs. These varicose vein symptoms are merely unsightly and cosmetic. Varicose severe vein symptoms include a painful and heavy feeling or a cramping and throbbing feeling in the legs. You may feel pain if you stand or sit for a long time.
Sometimes you may get an itchy feeling around the veins or reddening of skin around the veins, or the veins may start bleeding. If you find that the varicose veins have become hard or the skin around them is inflamed or if ulcers have formed near the veins, you have a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention.
Varicose veins rarely cause serious conditions. Severe conditions caused by varicose veins include blood clots. This condition is clinically called thrombophlebitis where blood clots in veins that are deeply embedded within the legs and the leg swell alarmingly, or varicose veins or bleeding varicose veins cause painful ulcers. These conditions are serious and require immediate medical attention.
Varicose veins can be treated by wearing compression stockings. You can take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce mild pain, discomfort, and swelling.
Medical treatments for varicose veins include laser-assisted varicose vein treatments, a procedure called sclerotherapy where a chemical called a sclerosant is injected into the vein to make it shrink and to prevent the vein from transporting blood, radiofrequency assisted varicose veins treatments and as a last resort surgery to strip varicose veins.
Varicose veins cannot be prevented entirely but they can be effectively treated using surgical and nonsurgical methods.