Varicose Veins Can Be More than Just Unsightly

Those twisted, puffy veins visible just beneath the surface of your skin? Those are called varicose veins.

Most often, varicose veins appear in the legs. They occur when the one-way valves that control blood flow in your veins don’t work properly, so blood flows backward and pools in your veins. This causes your veins to swell and can lead to varicose veins.

varicose veinsUsually, varicose veins aren’t a serious health issue. But for some people, they can cause painful leg cramps. Other symptoms include:

  • A “heavy” or “throbbing” feeling in the legs
  • Itching, especially on the lower legs and ankles
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Discolored skin on the legs

Who Gets Varicose Veins?
Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Besides gender, other factors that can raise your risk include older age, a family history of varicose veins, lack of movement, pregnancy, and being overweight.

Sometimes, varicose veins aren’t just a cosmetic issue. Left untreated, these problem veins can lead to dermatitis. This can cause bleeding, rashes, and sores on the skin. Varicose veins can also cause blood clots in the veins just under the skin. Called superficial thrombophlebitis, this condition can cause redness, swelling, and pain in the legs.

When to See Your Doctor
Staying active and avoiding sitting or standing too long without breaks are two of the many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins.

For many people, medical procedures can help with varicose vein problems and also make them less noticeable. Some treatments work by closing veins. Other treatments remove problem veins through small cuts in the skin.

If your varicose veins bother you, see your health care provider to discuss your treatment options.

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