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Health and Fitness

Varicose Veins Guide: Complications & Preventions

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins caused by increased blood pressure. When the valves in the vein become weakened, strained, or damaged, blood can begin to pool, causing varicose or spider veins. If left untreated, varicose veins can become painful, make it difficult to move and walk around, and disrupt the daily functioning of everyday life.

Any superficial vein can become varicose, however the most commonly affected veins are those in the legs because walking and standing upright increases veins’ pressure on the lower body, making your blood vessels have to work very hard to keep blood flowing properly upwards to the heart.

For many people, spider veins and varicose veins are cosmetic concerns. This is often in cases where the condition is mild and mostly symptom-less but the skin appears unsightly. Self-care, exercise, and preventative treatments are all great for mild cases, but there is always a risk of complications which is why it’s important to seek a vein specialist just to be sure.

Whether you’re experiencing little to no symptoms and are only concerned with resolving your condition cosmetically, or your symptoms indicate there may be more cause for concern, contact a vein doctor to seek safe and affordable treatment. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for varicose veins.

Outlining Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Some cases of varicose veins do not cause discomfort and symptoms are only manifested visually. However, there are many other signs and symptoms associated with this condition that should not be overlooked. Here are a few:

  • Veins appear discolored: blue and purple hues indicate lack of proper circulation
  • Veins appear enlarged, bulge out above the normal flatness of the skin, or appear twisted like a cord
  • Pain, aching, cramping, swelling, itching, or throbbing in the ankles, calves, and legs
  • A feeling of heaviness in the lower leg, especially when standing or walking
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for extended periods

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, call us to discuss your concerns and begin preventative care right away.

What to Know About Spider Veins

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, as both occur when a vein or blood vessel is damaged. Both often exhibit discoloration, with the veins appearing red, blue, or purple. The two primary differences between these, however, are size and symptoms.

Spider veins are smaller in size and do not bulge outward like varicose veins often do. Also, the symptoms of spider veins are usually much more mild, as the blood vessels themselves are smaller and less damaged. Pain and discomfort are usually minimal or absent. If symptoms become more severe, and pain or swelling develops, it indicates a worsening condition and should be addressed by a professional.

Preventative care and at-home self care measures are absolutely vital to treating spider veins and ensuring they don’t worsen. The easiest things to do are activities like taking a daily walk or doing some other aerobic exercise, stretching, elevating legs, using hot/cold therapy, and wearing compression socks/stockings.

It’s always good to consult a professional if you are unsure about the severity of your symptoms. If the appearance or pain becomes unmanageable, it’s important to seek help from a skilled vein doctor.

What can cause Varicose Vein?

Varicose veins occur when there is a problem with blood circulation. This can be caused by damaged or broken blood vessels, or weak valves.

Arteries carry blood from the heart to the organs and tissues and veins return the blood back to the heart. Your legs have to work very hard to work against gravity to get that blood back up to the heart. If the tiny valves that transport the blood back upwards are damaged or weak, the blood flows back down, pools in the veins, causing the veins to stretch and twist. Often, blood clots form. When a vein cannot perform its proper duty of recirculating blood, worst case scenarios such as pulmonary embolism or organ/heart failure may occur.

Sometimes, your specialist will recommend Varicose Vein Removal, which is a safe option to get rid of all your vein related troubles.

Risk Factors for Developing Varicose Veins

Our vein specialist would like you to be aware that there are certain risk factors associated with increasing your chance of developing varicose veins. Some of them are:

  • Age

The risk concerning the development of varicose veins rises with age. Aging causes wear and tear on veins and valves that regulate blood flow. Over time, valves weaken and are unable to exert the same amount of effort in pushing the blood flow upwards. This allows the blood to flow back into the veins rather than up to the heart. Additionally, many people become less active and more sedentary as they age, and since physical activity is one of the most important preventative measures, this increases the chance of developing varicose veins.

  • Sex

Women are slightly more likely to develop varicose veins than men due to hormone patterns and change, such as the menstruation cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Additionally, hormone treatments such as birth control pills increase the risk due to the alternation of the body’s natural cycle.

  • Pregnancy

There are many hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy which may play a crucial role in an increased risk. Additionally, during pregnancy, the blood volume in the body increases (a change to support the fetus), which can produce side effects of enlarged veins. Weight is also a big factor in vein conditions, and pregnancy obviously results in significant weight gain, which in turn increases the pressure on the veins in the legs.

  • Genetics

Discuss your family history with your vein specialist. Many diseases are pass down genetically. If one or more family members has been diagnosed with the condition. it increases the probability.

  • Obesity

Any excess, unnecessary weight puts extra strain and pressure on the veins. This inhibits circulation, damages blood vessels, and puts extra pressure on the veins, thereby preventing proper blood flow regulation. For this same reason, overweight individuals are also at a higher risk of developing heart issues because the blood isn’t reaching its proper destination.

  • Sitting or standing for extended periods

Blood cannot flow or circulate when you are in the same position for extended periods of time, whether it’s sitting or standing. This is why physical activity is highly suggested. If your occupation or other responsibilities require these kinds of positions, there are still things you can do such as using compression socks or taking daily walks on your lunch break. Without proper prevention, ulcers and blood clots may form.

What are Some Preventative Measures?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to visit a competent and trustworthy Vein Specialist in Philadelphia. Otherwise, these are some measures that you can perform to prevent the disease from getting worse.

  • Avoid tight, unsupportive footwear
  • Eat a low-salt, high-fiber diet and drink plenty of water
  • Exercise and stretch regularly
  • Elevate your legs, massage your legs
  • Invest in compression socks/stockings
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Our vein treatment specialists have access to the most advanced, effective procedures available in today’s medical industry. Contact us now to discuss the best ways to get rid of all your vein related issues.
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