Varicose Veins: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diagnosis, and Prevention in Dallas, Plano & Prosper, TX; are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins that often appear on the legs and feet. Varicose veins are often blue or dark purple in color.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins that control the flow of blood don’t work properly, causing the blood to flow in the wrong direction or to pool.
Varicose veins are a common condition that affects more than 23 percent of all adults. About 1 in 4 adults in the United States is affected by this disorder.
For many people, varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern but can also lead to more serious problems for other people.
Varicose veins rarely need treatment for health reasons. However, if it is causing you aching pain, swelling, and discomfort, treatment is recommended.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Veins that appear blue or dark purple in color
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging
- An achy pain
- Feeling heavy in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping in your legs
- Swelling in your legs
- Itching around the varicose veins
- Skin discoloration around the varicose veins
- Increased pain after sitting or standing for a long period of time
- Increased bleeding when injured in the area with varicose veins
Causes of Varicose Veins
The veins have one-way valves that allow blood to flow in only one direction. The arteries carry blood from your heart to the other parts of your body while the veins carry blood from the other parts of your body to your heart.
The valves in your veins open up as blood flows to your heart and then close up to stop blood from flowing backward. The valves may get weak if the walls of the veins become stretched and less flexible. When the valves get weak or damaged, blood begins to flow backward and pool in the vein. This causes the vein to stretch, twist, swell and change color.
Risk Factors of Varicose Veins
There are some factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins. These include:
As people grow older, their risk of varicose veins increases. Aging causes wear and tear of the valves in the veins, causing the valves to malfunction.
Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. This is due to hormonal changes that occur in women during pregnancy, pre-menstruation, or menopause.
Taking certain medications such as birth control pills may increase the risk of varicose veins.
Pregnancy is a common risk factor for varicose veins. The volume of blood in the body increases and the body also expands drastically. Hormonal changes also occur. These changes can increase the risk of varicose veins.
Individuals with a family history of varicose veins are at increased risk of the condition.
Individuals that are overweight or obese are at increased risk of varicose veins. This is due to the increased pressure exerted on their veins.
Using certain body creams
Using certain body creams, especially whitening creams can increase the risk of varicose veins.
Standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time
Always standing or sitting in the same position for long periods of time can increase the risk of developing varicose veins.
Diagnosis of Varicose Veins
To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor will ask you some questions about your symptoms. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam. You will be asked to stand so that your doctor can check for signs of swelling and discoloration.
Your doctor may also order some diagnostic tests such as:
A Doppler test is an ultrasound scan to check for the direction of blood flow in your veins. It checks to see if the valves in your veins are functioning properly and also check for blood clots or obstructions in the veins.
Color duplex ultrasound scan
This scan provides color images of the structure of your veins. This helps your doctor to identify if there are any abnormalities in your veins.
Treatment of Varicose Veins
Treatment of varicose veins includes:
Home remedies for varicose veins include:
- Losing weight
- Raising your legs
- Avoid wearing high heels
- Avoid wearing very tight clothes
- Avoid standing or sitting for too long.
Wearing compression stockings help to squeeze your legs. This allows your veins and leg muscles to move blood more efficiently. You can get compression stockings at most pharmacies. Your doctor may also prescribe compression stockings for you.
For more severe conditions, your doctor may recommend any of these procedures:
This is a procedure to scar and close up the affected varicose veins. The procedure involves injecting small, medium, and larger varicose veins with a solution that scars and closes the varicose veins. The treated varicose veins should fade away in a few weeks.
Laser treatment is used to close off smaller varicose veins. The procedure involves sending strong bursts of light onto the vein. The treated veins slowly fade and disappear over time.
Catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy
This procedure is used to destroy the affected varicose veins. The procedure involves inserting a catheter into an enlarged vein and then heating the tip of the catheter with either radiofrequency or laser energy. The heat destroys the vein as the catheter is pulled out.
High ligation and vein stripping
This procedure is used to remove the affected varicose veins. Small incisions are made and the affected veins are removed.
This procedure is used to remove smaller varicose veins through a series of tiny skin punctures.
Prevention of Varicose Veins
Improving blood circulation and muscle tone may reduce your risk of developing varicose veins.
Ways to prevent varicose veins include:
- Reducing your weight if you’re overweight
- Eating high-fiber, low-salt diets
- Avoiding high heels
- Elevating your legs
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed
- Avoid standing or sitting in a position for long periods of time
What are the main causes of varicose veins?
The main cause of varicose veins is weak or damaged, or faulty valves in the veins. When the valves get weak or damaged, blood begins to flow backward and pool in the vein. The veins start to get swollen, stretch, and change color.
What problems do varicose veins cause?
Varicose veins can cause problems such as swelling in the leg, leg pain, blood clots, and skin discoloration. It can also cause rare complications such as increased bleeding and ulcers.
When should I be concerned about varicose veins?
You should be concerned when you are experiencing severe and continuous pain, swelling in your legs, and excess discoloration. If the varicose veins are affecting your ability to walk normal or engage in your daily activities, you should immediately seek medical care.
Which is the best treatment for varicose veins?
Sclerotherapy is the most common and best treatment for varicose veins. It can be used to treat small, medium, and larger varicose veins.
Can varicose veins go away?
Varicose veins cannot go away on their own unless they’re treated.
Is walking good for varicose veins?
Walking is beneficial and safe for people with varicose veins. Sitting in a particular position can increase the risk of varicose veins.
How much is the treatment for varicose veins?
Sclerotherapy costs about $300-$1000 depending on the size of the vein being treated.
Does drinking water help varicose veins?
Drinking lots of water daily helps to improve the health of your veins by improving the overall circulation of the blood and strengthening the muscles that support your veins.
Are varicose veins a sign of poor health?
Varicose veins can be a cosmetic concern for most people. Varicose veins are not usually a serious health issue or concern.
What foods are bad for varicose veins?
Foods that are bad for varicose veins include salt, fried foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcoholic beverages.
Is it OK to massage varicose veins?
Massaging varicose veins can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Can varicose veins go away naturally?
Varicose veins do not go away naturally on their own. They only go away when treated.
What exercise is best for varicose veins?
Walking is the best exercise for varicose veins. Other good exercises for varicose veins include running, bicycling, squats, tippy toes, calf flexors, and toe flexes.
How can I stop varicose veins from getting worse?
You can stop varicose veins from getting worse by:
- Exercising regularly
- Losing excess weight if you’re overweight or obese
- Avoid standing or sitting in a position for a long period of time
- Avoid wearing very tight-fitting clothes
- Sitting or lying down with your feet above your chest
- Using compression stockings
Is banana good for varicose veins?
Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. Eating bananas can help improve varicose veins.
How can I get rid of varicose veins without surgery?
Apart from exercising and wearing compression stockings, there are other minimally invasive procedures to treat varicose veins. These include:
- Laser treatment
- Catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy
- High ligation and vein stripping
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
What fruit is good for varicose veins?
Fruits that contain flavonoids such as vegetables, onions, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, oranges, lemons, grapes, tangerines, cherries, apples, and blueberries.