Varicose veins are twisted, bulging veins that can be seen on the surface of the skin. Though any superficial veins can swell and bulge, varicose veins most commonly appear in legs due to pressure in the lower legs from standing and walking upright. They can occur as a result of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), generally presenting in the later stages of the disease.
Many people seek varicose vein treatment for cosmetic reasons, unhappy with the unsightly appearance of stretched and enlarged veins. However, for many others, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort, with leg fatigue, heaviness, and leg cramps at night. This is due to the pressure exerted from blood that pools in the legs for an extended length of time and damages the vein valves responsible for returning blood to the heart.
While varicose veins aren’t always serious, in severe cases they can lead to deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), ulcers, or bleeding.
Who Is at Risk?
Women over the age of 50 and those who spend the majority of the day on their feet—EMS workers, teachers, and retail and foodservice employees—are most at risk. Other risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, a family history, and sitting for long periods of time, as this leads to decreased blood flow.
How Do You Treat Varicose Veins?
There are several measures you can take to help increase circulation in the legs and prevent blood from pooling. We recommend:
- Wearing compression stockings, which gently squeeze the legs and keep blood moving.
- Elevating the feet for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, several times a day
For lasting relief, we recommend treating the underlying condition of CVI to relieve varicose vein symptoms.
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
If you have varicose veins and suspect that CVI could be the cause, we can help! Reach out to schedule a consultation.