Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins that are flesh-colored, blue, or red. Any vein in the body can be affected, but those in the legs and feet are more common.
A vein’s primary function is to transfer blood to and from the heart to all your other organs. When the valve inside the vein that facilitates this flow is damaged, it can’t function as it should, and ultimately deteriorates over time.
The improperly functioning vein builds pressure in the leg for extended periods of time, causing enlarged veins that rise to the surface of the skin. For some people, these varicose veins are just cosmetic irritants. For others, they are sources of severe discomfort and pain.
Who is more likely to develop varicose veins?
There are a variety of risk factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins, including:
Gender and genetics
A family history of varicose veins can significantly increase your chances. Additionally, women are more prone to varicose veins due to:
- Various hormonal changes
When a woman’s hormone levels drop, vein walls can relax, causing more blood to build up inside the vein.
The older you get, the more likely you are of developing varicose veins. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves that regulate blood flow.
You may develop varicose veins faster if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time. Remember, if you stand for too long, your veins won’t be able to bring the blood back to the heart properly.
Obesity and being overweight
People struggling with obesity or who are overweight are significantly more susceptible to varicose veins, as added weight puts unnecessary, constant pressure on your veins.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Varicose veins are often bluish or red and can feel tender to the touch. You might also experience:
- Leg heaviness
- Inability to stay seated or standing
- Chronic wounds in the lower legs
- Itching and swelling
- Burning or cramping sensation around the affected vein
How are varicose veins treated?
Dr. Shah recommends a series of lifestyle changes that can help manage your symptoms and eventually eliminate your varicose veins.
To improve circulation, Dr. Shah suggests that you systematically wear medical-grade compression socks. He also counsels you in finding a balanced regimen to improve your overall health and lose any excess weight that causes unnecessary pressure on your veins.
Some other treatments include:
- Minor surgery
- Endovenous ablation
Varicose veins can be a source of great pain, an annoying aesthetic discomfort, or both. Contact Dr. Shah today to find out how you can get rid of varicose veins and prevent them from re-emerging.