Varicose veins are unsightly — twisted, blue or purple, raised veins that appear on your body, most often on your legs. Varicose veins are common, especially among older people and women, affecting more than 40 million people in the United States.
Although the first symptom of varicose veins and spider veins, a smaller variation of varicose veins, are usually the unattractive blue twists that mar your legs, they can be more than just unpleasant to look at. In some cases, these gnarled blue veins can cause bothersome symptoms like pain and itching and may lead to serious health complications.
Varicose veins: Causes and risk factors
Veins carry blood from your organs to your heart. One-way valves in your veins prevent the blood from flowing in the wrong direction. When these valves become weakened or damaged, the blood headed to your heart leaks back down into the vein. This blood pools in the vein, causing it to swell.
Everyone is at risk for varicose veins, but certain factors raise your risk for developing these marks. These include:
- Family history
- Being a woman
You might also be at greater risk for varicose veins if you have a job that requires sitting or standing for long periods.
Health complications of not treating varicose veins
Treating varicose veins can definitely improve the appearance of your legs. Making your legs look better is important to many people, especially as warm weather approaches. However, cosmetic benefits aren’t the only benefits of treating varicose veins.
Untreated varicose veins may get worse, causing your legs to feel achy, throbbing, itchy, or tender. In some cases, untreated varicose veins can lead to other health issues including:
Painful and difficult-to-treat skin ulcers or sores can develop, usually around the ankles, as a result of long-term varicose veins.
The skin over the varicose veins gets stretched out and thinner as a result of the blood pushing up against it. In some cases, the skin can rip from scratching or just burst, causing the varicose veins to bleed.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a blood clot that forms inside a vein close to the skin. These clots can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
A DVT is a clot that forms deeper under the skin. This type of blood clot can also cause swelling, pain, and tenderness, but it can also break off and travel to your lungs. When it travels to your lungs, it can block your lungs and turn into a pulmonary embolism, which can make it difficult to breathe and may even lead to death.
At Advanced Vein & Laser Center, our expert providers offer effective treatment options for varicose veins, including:
This minimally invasive treatment uses radiofrequency energy to heat targeted blood vessels, causing them to collapse.
Your provider injects the veins with a special solution that causes the walls of the vein to stick together, which blocks the blood flow. Eventually, the vein shrinks and fades or goes away.
For more information on the prevention and treatment of varicose veins, contact Advanced Vein & Laser Center, with offices conveniently located in York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Call today or request an appointment online.