While varicose veins may not cause any side effects, they can cause swelling, an achy or heavy feeling in the legs, mild pain and discomfort, and even fatigue. These side effects may not be serious, however, if left untreated, they can lead to complications. What are varicose vein complications?
Varicose Vein Complications
While rare, varicose veins can lead to potential complications. It’s always important to seek medical advice if you are concerned about varicose vein complications including:
- Bleeding: Since blood is pooled in a spot close to the surface of the skin, varicose veins can bleed easily. This can be a serious complication for someone on blood thinners. If you have varicose veins that begin bleeding, immediately apply pressure.
- Blood Clots: In some cases, blood clots can form in varicose veins. Blood clots can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and in serious cases, a pulmonary embolism.
- Stasis Dermatitis: Stasis dermatitis is a skin inflammation in the lower legs caused by fluid buildup due to varicose veins. The skin appears discolored and is itchy, thickened, and leg ulcers may develop. Treatment for stasis dermatitis may include compression stockings, moisturizers or prescription medication.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a form of venous insufficiency. Blood flows throughout the body and towards the heart through one-way valves in the veins. When those valves become weak or damaged, blood collects in the veins rather than continuing to circulate. The blood pools close to the skin and collects there. When backed-up blood makes the veins bigger, they can become varicose.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins
While some people may not be able to completely prevent varicose veins, there are some ways to slow down developing varicose veins. Varicose vein prevention includes:
- Exercise: Exercise is one of the best ways to help your overall health and prevent varicose veins. Since varicose veins can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, you should exercise at least a few times a week to improve your health.
- Eat a healthy diet: After exercise, a balanced diet is the next best thing you can do to prevent varicose veins and other health ailments.
- Compression stockings: Compression stockings improve blood circulation by applying pressure to your legs and ankles. This pressure helps the blood vessels in your legs work better.
- Stay hydrated: While the many opinions on how much water you should drink in a day, the general rule is eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Some studies link severe dehydration to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and chronic venous insufficiency.
Varicose Vein Risk Factors
There are several risk factors for varicose veins and even spider veins. Risk factors include:
- Age: Varicose veins and spider veins are more common as people age. While anyone can get them, people over the age of 35 have a higher risk.
- Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins.
- Pregnancy: When women are pregnant, the volume of blood in the body increases. This can put a strain on the veins in the legs and can increase the risk of varicose veins.
- Family history: Like many health issues, varicose veins can run in the family. If you have a relative that has had varicose veins, you may also be at risk.
- Obesity: Carrying extra weight can put increased pressure on your legs leading to varicose veins.
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time: Sitting or standing for long periods of time can cause blood to pool up in your legs and can increase your risk of varicose veins.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
If you are experiencing varicose veins or spider veins, Premier Vein Specialists is here to help. We offer a free vein-health screening to determine if and which treatment plan is right for you. Varicose vein treatment options include compression therapy, sclerotherapy, ligation, ambulatory microphlebectomy, and Venefit, a vein closure procedure.
To schedule your free vein health screening, call us at 717-412-7226 or fill out our health screening request form. The health screenings and treatments do not require a hospital visit, are minimally invasive, and are often covered by insurance. We are here to help you love your legs again!
At Premier Vein Specialists, your health is our priority. Our offices in York and Hanover only admit one patient at a time, and we follow all health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.