Varicose Vein in Your Legs Summary:

Varicose veins in your legs are an unpleasant subject for many people.  But it’s necessary to deal with them, and promptly, in order to avoid potentially life-threatening health complications that can occur.  Varicose veins are the result of a disease, chronic venous insufficiency. It means the valves in your veins in the legs are becoming fatigued with wear and tear, and not closing properly.  This results in the formation of varicose veins, as the body tries to find ways to bypass the malfunctioning valves. Varicose veins are serious, and can result in pain, bleeding, skin conditions, fatigue, ulcers, and even blood clots that can kill.  If you have varicose veins in your legs, you should get a varicose vein consultation from a medical doctor who specializes in vein treatment. There are numerous new varicose vein treatment options, all of which are minimally-invasive, quick outpatient procedures.  A vein specialist can plan a course of treatment for your varicose veins that addresses the underlying venous disease. That’s really the only effective way to get rid of your varicose veins, and eliminate the health risks that come with them and the associated venous insufficiency.

Introduction to Varicose Veins in Your Legs

Do you have visible, bulging, ugly big veins on your legs?  You’re not alone. Millions of Americans cover up their legs and keep them hidden due to this problem.  Visible, twisted, bulging veins like this are known as varicose veins in your legs.  While they may be unsightly and unpleasant to look at, self-image and self-esteem are really the least of your concerns with varicose veins.  They are a sign of a more serious problem that you can’t see from the outside: venous disease, also known as chronic venous insufficiency. Read on to learn more about varicose veins, how they are formed, risk factors, and more.  We’ll cover the health complications associated with varicose veins and the underlying venous disease, as well as point you to expert vein specialists and the latest varicose vein treatments, so that you can rid yourself of those varicose veins in your legs.  

What are Varicose Veins and How are they Formed?

Varicose veins are surface veins, typically in your legs or lower body, that appear twisted and knotted, visibly bulging or popping out of the skin.  They are usually dark purple, blue, green, or red in color. Odds are if you have these kinds of thick, characteristically twisting veins, you’re dealing with varicose veins in your legs.  They’re formed as a result of chronic venous insufficiency, a disease process. Normally, blood flows through a series of valves in the veins, that open and close rhythmically with your heartbeat.  This helps the blood fight against gravity and get back to your heart as it travels through your body. These valves in the veins can become dysfunctional over time, and then no longer fully close. Blood can fall back behind the valves, pool, and increase pressure on the veins.  After awhile, the veins branch out from this pressure, and seek to find a way around the malfunctioning valve. The result is the appearance of varicose veins.

Risk Factors for Developing Varicose Veins in Your Legs

The valves in the veins naturally can become a bit worn and decrease in function with age.  However, that doesn’t mean everyone is destined to develop varicose veins in their legs. There are several different risk factors that increase your likelihood for developing varicose veins, largely because they increase your risk of developing chronic venous insufficiency.  Briefly, these risk factors include:

  • Genetics:  If one or both parents have varicose veins, your chance of developing them is increased.
  • Gender: Females are at a higher risk for developing varicose veins and other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency than men.
  • Pregnancy:  Hormones, increased blood volume, and physical pressure on the veins supplying blood to the lower portion of the body can all increase the risk for varicose veins in pregnancy and afterward.
  • Aging: While not a guarantee of developing varicose veins, the older you get, the more likely the wear and tear on the valves in your veins will lead to venous disease, and varicose veins developing accordingly.
  • Blood Clots:  If you have a history of blood clots in the legs (known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT), they can damage the valves severely and greatly increase your risk for vein disease and varicose veins.
  • Obesity: Being significantly overweight increases pressure on the veins and some hormone changes, both of which increase the pressure on vein walls and increase the risk of varicose veins.
  • Sitting: If you tend to sit all day or stand all day in your job, it increases your risk of developing these problems.  

Health Complications from Varicose Veins

There are numerous health complications that can occur from varicose veins and the chronic venous insufficiency that caused them.  Aside from the appearance and aesthetics, varicose vein symptoms can progress to itchy or painful veins, leg fatigue, slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers, various skin conditions, increasing pain, bleeding easily from minor scratches or bumps against the veins, and an increased risk of blood clots, which can result in a fatal pulmonary embolism.

See a Vein Specialist for a Varicose Vein Consultation

Clearly, the health complications from varicose veins and venous disease mean that you should see a vein specialist, and receive a varicose vein consultation.  You don’t want to mess around with something that is potentially life-threatening. The varicose veins are just the outward symptom of the underlying chronic venous insufficiency.  That must be treated as well, or the varicose veins will simply reappear in time. A trained vein specialist can evaluate the varicose veins in your legs, and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique situation.  

New Varicose Vein Treatment Options

There are many new varicose vein treatment options that are minimally-invasive, take less than an hour, and have little to no downtime or recovery period.  Vein removal used to be the standard option and required surgery. Today, new varicose vein treatment options are much less dramatic, safer, and more affordable.  Vein specialists typically use a combination of vein treatments to achieve the best outcomes. All work on the same principles of shutting down the diseased vein and associated varicose veins.  They can then be reabsorbed by the body, and blood will automatically be rerouted to other, healthy veins. Modern varicose vein treatments include:

  • VenaSeal, a kind of “vein glue” that seals the diseased vein via a simple injection
  • Varithena, which is also injected, and irritates the vein walls into collapsing
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (VNUS or ClosureFAST trade names), which uses a catheter inserted into the vein to send out radio waves that create heat and collapse the vein walls

These are the best, most effective treatments for varicose veins and venous disease today.

FAQs about Varicose Vein in Your Legs

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins in your legs are twisted, knotted veins that appear to bulge out of the skin.  They are a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency, and can become painful and cause health problems if left untreated.

What are the main causes of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by venous disease.  Malfunctioning valves in the veins result in increased pressure and blood pooling behind the valves.  This causes the veins to branch out and seek a pathway around the malfunctioning valves.

How to treat varicose veins today with modern technology?

All of the three primary new varicose vein treatments mentioned above (VenaSeal, Varithena, and Radiofrequency Ablation) are examples of modern medical science and technology for treating varicose veins.  They are much safer, more effective, and more affordable than the old standard, which was vein removal surgery.

Can varicose veins cause death or heart problem?

If left untreated, varicose veins can ultimately lead to fatal health complications, in the form of blood clots that move to the lungs.  While they don’t directly cause heart problems, blood clots and blood pressure changes associated with vein disease can certainly wreak havoc on the heart as well.  

What are the symptoms of Varicose Veins?

The symptoms of varicose veins start with the visible varicose veins themselves.  Over time, they may become itchy, painful, swollen, cause skin problems, bleed easily, result in slow-healing wounds in the area, skin ulcers or lesions, fatigue in the legs, and blood clots, which can be fatal.  

How to treat old varicose veins?

It doesn’t matter if the varicose veins in your leg are old or just appeared recently.  The best new varicose vein treatments can treat them all, and prevent them from recurring, by treating the malfunctioning vein that is their source.  

Concluding Thoughts about Varicose Veins in Your Legs

If you’ve spotted varicose veins in your legs, don’t panic, but don’t ignore it, either.  Your best course of action is to book an appointment with a vein doctor near you, who can perform a varicose vein consultation.  They’ll talk to you about what vein treatment options make the most sense for you, and can schedule an appointment for your varicose vein removal.  In no time, you’ll be happy, healthy, and varicose-vein free!