Enlarged or twisted veins that are overfilled with blood are called varicose veins. These veins are sometimes mistaken for spider veins, which are smaller in size. Varicose veins are usually found in the legs, although they can develop on other parts of the body.
If you want to better understand this condition, here are three things to know about varicose veins.
1. Know the Cause
Varicose veins are believed to be caused by faulty valves in the veins that prevent the blood from traveling in the right direction. Varicose veins might also be the result of weakened or damaged vein walls. For some with varicose veins, the cause is unknown. There are, however, certain risk factors that can increase a person's chances of having varicose veins.
These risk factors include:
- Older age
- Family history
Gender is also a risk factor as women are more likely to get varicose veins than men. People who sit or stand for prolonged periods of time are also at an increased risk of getting varicose veins.
2. Know the Symptoms
The most obvious symptom of varicose veins is their appearance. The veins are usually dark blue or purple and look like twisted cords just beneath the surface of the skin. People with varicose veins sometimes suffer other symptoms as well. These symptoms include an achy feeling in the legs, swelling and cramping in the lower legs, and an itchy feeling near the vein.
Some people with varicose veins might also experience discomfort after sitting or standing for long periods of time. People who have varicose veins on visible parts of the skin may feel self-conscious about their appearance.
3. Know the Treatment Options
There are some treatment options that can improve the appearance and manage the symptoms of varicose veins. Compression stockings are one form of treatment that is commonly prescribed by doctors. Another type of treatment involves certain procedures that are performed at a vein center.
Some of these vein treatment procedures include:
- Sclerotherapy. A solution gets injected into the veins which causes them to scar and close.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy. Small varicose veins are removed through tiny skin punctures.
- Laser surgery. Veins are closed off with laser treatment.
- Endoscopic vein surgery. Veins are removed through small incisions with the help of a thin camera.
Some people with a minor case of varicose veins can also do things at home. These home treatment options include wearing loose-fitting clothing, exercising, losing weight, resting the legs on a regular basis, and elevating the legs.
Visit a local vein center to learn more.