Varicose Vein Causes and Symptoms
Understanding varicose vein causes and learning to recognize the symptoms is key to getting correct early treatment. Without treatment, the condition can worsen, leading to complications that are more serious. Treatments are, however, effective and safe, giving long-lasting relief.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are one of the two primary vein conditions medically known as vein disease or venous insufficiency. The other condition is commonly called spider veins. When veins are varicose, they have a protruding, lumpy appearance and are often blue or red in appearance. They can also be flesh colored, looking as though a length of string is lying just under the skin.
Typically, they appear on the backs of the calves or the thighs, but can also appear anywhere on the legs.
Varicose Vein Causes
Veins throughout the body perform the important function of carrying blood to the heart where it is renewed with fresh oxygen before being transported by the arteries to all our other organs. To counteract gravity and facilitate the pumping action needed to get blood to the heart, veins contain many small valves that are roughly an inch apart. These keep the blood flowing freely in the right direction, towards the heart, preventing it escaping back down the vein.
Occasionally the valves can malfunction, and when this happens blood pools behind the valve, causing stress to the vein walls. As the condition worsens, the vein starts to bulge and, as pressure builds up, fluid can leak into surrounding tissues, causing swelling and discomfort.
Varicose vein causes are numerous and include the age and weight of the patient, their gender, family history, lifestyle, and even the type of work they do. Standing or sitting for long periods, for instance, can both be contributing factors.
Whatever caused varicose veins in the first place, the result is nearly always the same: Not pretty, uncomfortable or outright painful, and with the potential to develop into a more serious condition such as an ulcer or blood clot if it’s allowed to go untreated.
Varicose Vein Symptoms
The most obvious symptom is the vein itself, which shows as a “bumpy” or lumpy line beneath the skin. There are, however, other varicose vein symptoms which are just as distressing but not necessarily visible. These include:
- Legs feeling restless
- Ankles swelling
- Cramps or a dull aching in the legs
- Pain in the legs that may feel like burning or general soreness.
- Tingling sensations or feelings of numbness
- Legs feeling heavy or fatigued
Other ways to tell if you’re at risk of varicose veins is if your legs feel tired at the end of the day, or you have pain that lessens when you put your feet up, or worsens when you stand. You may find leg discomfort eases if you walk around a little rather than standing still.
You may feel areas of tenderness around the veins in your legs, or notice the texture of your skin is changing, maybe appearing thicker or harder, or becoming dry and scaly where it used to be smooth.
Other visible indications may be unexplained redness appearing around the ankles or elsewhere on the legs, or some discoloration of the skin that may look blue or brown, like bruising.
Many people suffer from some kind of vein disease (estimated to be around 80 million individuals in America alone). What the majority of patients don’t realize is that the condition doesn’t get better without treatment. If you recognize any of the symptoms described on this page, please get in touch. We can help with accurate diagnosis, followed by safe, effective treatments.