When most people think of varicose veins, they often think of them as a cosmetic concern. In some cases, varicose veins are generally harmless and are simply a cosmetic concern that can be treated. However, varicose veins can cause aching pain and extreme discomfort for some people and may be a warning sign of a serious underlying health condition.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are bulging, dilated veins that are caused by malfunctioning venous valves. They occur when the veins aren’t functioning properly and are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins.
Venous valves are one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When the valves malfunction, blood flows in the opposite direction, causing veins to enlarge in order to accommodate the increased volume of blood.
Many people often confuse varicose veins with spider veins, but they are not the same. Spider veins are small, thin blood vessels that appear on the surface of the skin. While spider veins are harmless, they can be a symptom of poor circulation or a sign of increased risk for varicose veins.
When Do Varicose Veins Become a Problem?
If you have varicose veins, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor to ensure that your varicose veins are not a warning sign of a serious underlying condition. According to one study, there is a possible link between varicose veins and more serious health problems involving blood clots in the deeper veins of the legs, such as deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when there is a blood clot in the deep vein of the leg. This condition can cause swelling of the leg, pain or tenderness in the leg, and red or discolored skin in the leg. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they have deep vein thrombosis until they seek emergency treatment for a pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. It is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs or other parts of the body. This condition can be life-threatening, as the clots are blocking blood flow to the lungs.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms below, you may be at risk of developing blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, skin ulcers and other serious health conditions. It may be time to call your doctor if you have:
- Severe and continuous pain and swelling in the legs
- Skin discoloration around the varicose vein
- An achy or heavy feeling in the legs
- Burning, throbbing, and/or muscle cramping in the legs
- Varicose veins that are prone to bleeding on their own or due to injury
- Open sores that have developed in the skin
Schedule Varicose Vein Appointment Today!
At Advanced Heart and Vein Center, we offer advanced vein care for a wide range of conditions in our vein center. To schedule a FREE vein screening, please contact us at (720) 772-8040 today!