Many people suffer from varicose veins, especially as they grow older. Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins, including how they form and how to treat them.
You’re probably familiar with the basics of varicose veins — they can cause tenderness and discomfort, and often appear as dark and prominent lines on the surface of your skin.
Yet many people don’t know that untreated varicose veins can lead to serious medical conditions like blood clots. Further, despite common misconceptions, varicose veins can affect people of any age, and they don’t just form in the legs.
To better understand varicose veins — what they are, how they operate, and how to treat them — let’s dive into some lesser-known facts about this common condition.
1. Fact: They’re caused by overworked valves in your veins.
When the valves that help push oxygenated blood back to your heart are overworked, they can stop functioning properly. Weak valves can lead to a backup of blood, causing your veins to twist and swell. This is what we call varicose veins.
2. Fact: They don’t just happen in your legs.
Varicose veins most commonly occur in your legs, but they can also appear anywhere your valves are weak. The veins in your legs are the most likely to become overworked, since they have to fight gravity and bring blood from your legs back up to your heart. But other veins in areas far from your heart — like your arms, hands, or hips — can also develop the condition.
3. Fact: Varicose veins may be connected to restless legs syndrome.
Varicose veins have a high correlation with restless legs syndrome. The dull ache in your legs caused by varicose veins may cause you to constantly move your legs at night in search of a more comfortable position. Fortunately, treating your varicose veins has the added potential of treating your restless legs syndrome, as well.
4. Fact: They can lead to painful ulcers.
Varicose veins often cause a dull ache, a heavy feeling, or a pressure near the skin. But, in more serious cases, they can also form ulcers. When a hard, bulging vein creates a sore on your skin, a venous ulcer can develop. Ulcers most commonly occur around your ankles, and they can become quite painful — and even infected — if left untreated.
5. Fact: They can lead to dangerous blood clots.
Blood clots are a less common side effect of varicose veins, but they can be very dangerous. When too much blood collects in a vein, it can solidify to create a clot. If this occurs in a vein deep within your body it is referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots are dangerous because they can travel to your lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
6. Fact: Treating your varicose veins can be virtually pain-free.
With treatment right around the corner, you don’t have to suffer from the pain and discomfort of varicose veins any longer. A variety of minimally-invasive procedures can cure varicose veins completely using a virtually pain-free process.
At Bellamah Vein Center, we offer several different procedures to eliminate varicose veins. For instance, one of our treatments uses an innovative sealing process called VenaSeal, which closes the damaged vein and allows it to become absorbed by your body. We can also treat varicose veins with procedures like phlebectomy (vein removal) or sclerotherapy, which uses small injections to seal up your veins.
If you’re suffering from varicose veins, don’t hesitate to consult a vein specialist to determine which treatment option is right for you. To get in touch with Montana’s premier vein experts, contact us at Bellamah Vein Center today.