Varicose veins are a common problem in the United States, affecting about 23% of the adult population. Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins that form when blood pools in the vessels instead of flowing to the heart. In most cases, varicose veins Upper East Side cause no bothersome symptoms; people who seek treatment do so for cosmetic concerns. However, varicose veins can cause muscle cramps, swelling, and discoloration, necessitating medical treatment. Mild cases of varicose veins improve with simple remedies like walking and elevating your legs. But patients with severe varicose veins may require advanced treatment like laser surgery or sclerotherapy.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins may not cause pain, but they are usually unsightly. They appear as dark purple or twisted blue veins in your legs. However, sometimes varicose veins cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Muscle cramping, burning, throbbing, and swelling in your feet and legs
- Pain that worsens after long hours of standing or sitting
- Heaviness in your legs
- Itching around the areas with varicose veins
- Skin discoloration around varicose veins
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins develop when your valves get damaged or weak, affecting their normal functioning. The veins carry blood from the rest of your body to the heart. Unlike other veins, the ones in your legs must work against gravity to return blood to the heart. The leg muscles are your biggest allies because their contractions act as pumps that help the veins carry blood to the heart.
As blood flows to the heart, small valves in the veins open and close to prevent the blood from flowing back. If the valves are weak or damaged, some blood flows back and pools in the veins, causing them to stretch, twist, and bulge close to your skin surface.
Risk factors for varicose veins
Anyone can develop varicose veins regardless of age, but some factors make some more likely to develop this problem than others. They include:
Age. As you advance in age, gradual wear and tear occur in the valves, making them weak. Consequently, they don’t function as they should, allowing blood to flow back into the veins.
Obesity. Excess body weight adds pressure on the veins in your lower body, increasing your risk of varicose veins. Not only does losing extra pounds help you prevent varicose veins, but it also lessens your risk of type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and hypertension.
Family history. Your risk of varicose veins is higher if you have close family members with the same problem.
Pregnancy. The blood volume in your body increases during pregnancy to support the development of the fetus. Although this change is helpful, it can enlarge your veins.
Sitting or standing for long hours. Blood does not circulate as you should when you remain in sedentary positions for long. If your job requires you to sit or stand for too long, take breaks and walk around to improve blood circulation.
Treatment for varicose veins
Physicians are generally conservative when treating varicose veins. Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes like losing weight and exercising before looking into other procedures or surgery,
If you have varicose veins, reserve a session with your doctor at Upper East Side Cardiology for treatment to enjoy a pain-free life.