The human body is made up of nearly 60,000 miles of superficial, pulmonary, and systemic veins. Veins are responsible for carrying blood throughout the body to maintain adequate circulation from head to toe. However, when veins experience damage, they can appear as varicose veins.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are very common with approximately one-third of people reporting having varicose veins during adulthood. They often occur on the lower half of the body, predominantly the ankles, feet, and legs, and may become painful or itchy. Varicose veins are easily seen during a physical examination as they become enlarged or twisted at the surface of the skin.
Though varicose veins may cause self-esteem issues and may be uncomfortable, they are often not dangerous and are easily diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms of varicose veins
The most obvious symptom of varicose veins is purple/blue bulging or swollen veins near the surface of the skin.
Other symptoms include:
- Muscles in the legs feel tired or heavy, especially after physical activity
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins may be attributed to several things. As pressure builds up within the veins due to improper function, the vein wall stretches and becomes brittle, affecting the valve and flow of blood. Vein wall compromise results in blood pooling within the veins, causing swelling and enlargement.
Varicose veins are more likely to occur in women due to fluctuating hormones. However, they can affect anyone and may be caused by:
- Pregnancy, menopause, or birth control
- Wearing restrictive clothing
- A sedentary lifestyle
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
Diagnosing varicose veins does not require a medical professional as they are seen near the surface of the skin. However, complications may reside within the vein that cannot be seen without diagnostic testing. Your healthcare provider will provide a physical examination while you are standing and sitting to assess the severity of swelling. An ultrasound may be ordered to determine the presence of blood clots, valve compromise, or other potential complications.
Risk factors contributing to varicose veins
Varicose veins do not discriminate based on age, race, or religion, but there are risk factors associated with varicose veins that can increase your risk of developing them.
With age, the body begins to succumb to the impact of life – veins included. As you age, vein walls and valves are weakened, stiffen, and lose elasticity, making them more susceptible to blood pooling and leading to varicose veins.
Women experience hormone imbalances and fluctuations, whether it be due to using birth control, pregnancy, or menopause, leaving them with an increased risk of vein compromise.
People with a sedentary lifestyle, those who stand in one place for long periods, and individuals living with obesity experience a decrease in adequate circulation and have undue pressure on the veins, causing them to weaken prematurely and malfunction.
Varicose veins can run in the family. A healthy person with a family history is more likely to get varicose veins than a healthy person without a family history.
Treating Varicose Veins at the SIRAGUSA’S VEIN CLINIC IN NASHVILLE
If varicose veins, spider veins or other vascular issues are causing you health problems, schedule a consult with us right away. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the middle of winter or July here in Nashville, TN. We’ll plan out a course of vein treatment to help you deal with varicose veins, spider veins, or DVT.