Almost everyone knows someone who has complained about having varicose veins. Sometimes these abnormal blood vessels are unsightly developments that might affect self-confidence. However, for some people, they cause significant discomfort. Individuals with risk factors for these veins can lower the chance that they will develop by being evaluated and taking the steps recommended by a vein doctor. Patients who need treatment for existing varicose vessels can sometimes help prevent new ones from forming by following physician recommendations.
Understanding a bit about these blood vessels and why they develop is helpful when evaluating risk factors. A varicose vein is typically red, blue, or dark purple. It often looks bulging or twisted, with a cordlike appearance, according to the Mayo Clinic. These veins most often develop in the lower extremities. Typical symptoms include a heavy or aching feeling in a leg. Some patients experience muscle cramping, swelling, throbbing, or burning in the lower legs. Pain might increase after standing or sitting for a prolonged period. The function of a vein is to return blood from the body to the heart. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute indicates that one-way vein valves help make sure blood continues to flow upward from the extremities. However, if a valve becomes damaged or even weak, it leaks. Blood flows backward and pools in the vein, causing it to swell and potentially become varicose. Treatment choices for a varicose vein often start with lifestyle changes. Most other options are non-surgical outpatient procedures. Both radiologists and vascular surgeons treat vein problems.
The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine says that around 15 percent of U.S. adults suffer from varicose veins and identifies these six most common risk factors:
Trauma to a leg is also a risk, though uncommon. The first step to successful vein care begins is a consultation at a vein clinic. After an evaluation, the physician will present a personalized care plan.