Varicose veins are not only cosmetic — they can represent more severe health issues as well. In fact, one can have varicose veins that are not yet visible but can still cause discomfort and may lead to long-term conditions. You may have varicose veins and not even know it.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, and dilated veins that can be seen just below the skin surface of the legs and feet. They often appear because of increased pressure in your veins from conditions such as pregnancy, being overweight, valvular insufficiency, or prolonged standing. However, varicose veins can also be caused by long-term damage to the valves within your leg veins.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms of varicose veins can vary, but often include aching and heaviness in the legs, swelling or spider-like lines on your leg, skin discoloration (redness), pain when standing for long periods of time or after sitting. Some patients complain of a burning sensation in their skin, although it may not be apparently hot to the touch. Restless legs are another symptom of Varicose veins.
Why it is important to not ignore Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can lead to chronic venous insufficiency, which accounts for more than 75% of skin ulcers. Superficial venous insufficiency can lead to blood clots. If left untreated, it can even increase the risk of serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, chronic infections, and leg swelling with weeping.
Varicose Vein Treatment
If varicose veins are diagnosed, a vascular specialist may recommend a variety of treatments including endovenous ablation (multiple techniques exist), sclerotherapy, including ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, and Microphlebectomy. All treatments are performed after a trial of compression therapy. The trial of compression therapy is required by all insurance companies.