Over one-third of Americans suffer from a condition called varicose veins / venous insufficiency. For many of them, it’s a condition that’s largely cosmetic and that creates only minor symptoms, if any at all, beyond a twisted and enlarged appearance.
Sometimes, though, varicose veins can be uncomfortable and even painful, and they could be a sign of deeper trouble. Blood clots could be forming in veins away from the surface of your skin.
When you need to know if your varicose veins are a cause for concern it’s time to visit Cardiovascular Institute of America. As varicose vein specialists, Muthu Velusamy, MD, FACC, ABVM and his team are well-suited to diagnose and treat any venous issue from which you may be suffering.
Origins of varicose veins
Varicose veins start as a result of the weakening of vein walls. Valves inside veins preserve the one-way motion of blood from cells back to the heart. While healthy, youthful veins withstand the pressure of the blood within them, as you get older or when you experience certain health conditions, these walls can weaken, stretching valves to the point where they no longer close fully.
This means blood can pool, creating further pressure and resulting in the swollen and gnarled appearance of varicose veins, usually visible through the skin of your legs. You could be at risk of developing varicose veins if your family has a history of the condition, or because of a number of other risk factors, including:
- Age: valve wear and tear may also contribute to blood pooling
- Gender: women are more susceptible to varicose veins because of pregnancy
- Sitting or standing: long hours spent in a single position aggravates blood pooling
- Obesity: carrying extra weight can increase the load on vein walls
Though veins near the skin show visible signs of varicosity, internal veins can also become swollen and twisted.
Potentially dangerous complications
As well as taking on a dark blue or purple color, varicose veins can push outward, creating raised bulges on the skin of your legs. Your legs may feel achy or heavy and they may tire easily.
Sensations include itchiness, throbbing aches, burning feelings, and cramping, while you may also see fluid retention (edema) in your ankles and lower legs. Discomfort and pain could be worse when you stand or sit for long periods of time and your skin may become discolored near varicose bulges. You could develop venous ulcers.
Though more serious complications are rare, varicose veins could indicate that you’re susceptible to deep vein thrombosis, blood clots in veins away from the skin’s surface. If these break away, they can move to your lungs, potentially causing a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Chances are that you won’t develop these serious complications associated with varicose veins, but you may be reassured by having your condition investigated for other signs of trouble. Contact Cardiovascular Institute of America by phone or through the online appointment scheduling link. When it comes to your health, prevention is always better than cure, so book your consultation now.