There are two types of blood vessels in our bodies: arteries and veins. Arteries are surrounded by tough walls of fascia and tiny muscles because they carry the blood from the heart to the organs and the extremities. They have to be able to withstand the pressure produced by the pumping heart chambers.
Veins, on the other hand, are not as well reinforced. Their job is to return the blood to the heart from the organs and the arms and legs. They are under very little pressure. To bring the blood back up from the feet, your veins are equipped with a series of internal valves. As the muscles in your legs work, while walking or running, the blood is pushed upward. The valves hold the blood up until the next upward push. Varicose veins are veins, usually in the legs, that have widened and twisted. widened and twisted.
What Causes of Varicose Veins
While not everyone is at risk of developing varicose veins, some factors can lead to them occurring:
- Age – Growing older reduces the elasticity of the vein walls.
- Obesity – Increased weight, especially in the abdomen, causes increased pressure in the veins, weakening the valves.
- Pregnancy – Pregnancy causes two problems: increased abdominal pressure and increased blood volume in the body, both of which cause wear and tear on the veins in the legs.
- Standing for hours at a time – Standing in one place, as is required of clerks and cashiers and many other jobs, also increases the pressure in the legs and weakens the valves.
- Female hormonal changes – Abrupt changes in the levels of estrogens and progesterone, as occurs in pregnancy or menopause, tend to relax the vein walls, causing the valves to deform.
What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins
If you are unsure if you have varicose veins, these are some symptoms to be mindful of:
- Twisted, dilated veins – Usually located on the surface of the legs, the veins may be dark in color.
- Pain – Most people experience a heavy, aching feeling in the legs.
- Swelling – The lower legs may become swollen.
- Itching – The veins may itch.
You can help the pain and swelling of varicose veins by regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing compression hose. Still, there are some dangers in not treating symptomatic varicosities.
What Complications Can Occur
When you have varicose veins, they can often lead to complications that can cause the following symptoms to occur:
- Bleeding – Because the veins are close to the surface of the legs, they are often exposed to trauma, and bleeding can be a problem.
- Leg ulcers – The blood circulation in the area of the veins is often problematic. Skin breakdown can occur and develop into ulcerations.
- Discoloration of the legs – The legs often become very dark in color.
- Blood clots – When deep veins become varicose, the chances of developing a blood clot in the tortuous, dilated veins is increased.
When your legs ache or itch because of the veins, it may be time to see a doctor for varicose veins. If the veins are getting worse, your doctor may offer several surgical options.
If you are suffering from varicose veins, there are some things you can do to elevate the symptoms and avoid surgery:
- Lose weight
- Don’t wear tight clothes
- Elevate your legs
- Don’t sit or stand for extended periods of time
- Wear compression stocks – help with blood flow
While not all varicose veins require surgical treatment, more severe cases can lead to your doctor, suggesting one of the following options:
- Sclerotherapy – Used for smaller veins, a foam is injected that scars the veins and causes them to collapse.
- Laser treatments – Uses strong bursts of light onto the vein to make them fade and eventually disappear.
- High ligation and vein stripping – Appropriate for larger veins. The surgeon ties off the vein close to the groin, then removes it in pieces through small incisions along the course of the vein.
- Endoscopic vein surgery – This is appropriate only for more severe cases.
Before those varicosities become problems, do something about them. Meanwhile, get some exercise, watch your weight and wear the compression hose until you talk to a vascular surgeon.