Varicose veins are a pretty common problem, with as many as 22 million women and 11 million men suffering from the disease, according to the American Heart Association. Despite their prevalence, there are also many misconceptions floating around about these bulging, rope-like lines that frequently make their appearance on the lower leg. If you have varicose veins, or you are worried about developing them in the future, there are a few things about this condition you need to know.
Varicose Veins Indicate an Underlying Problem
Varicose veins do not occur alone; they are typically a visible sign of an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when valves inside the veins stop working properly. Since the valves are responsible for keeping blood pumping in a uniform direction, when they stop working, blood can reflux back into the vessels. This leads to swelling of the vessels and varicosity, which can worsen over time if the condition is left untreated.
Varicose Veins can Cause Uncomfortable Symptoms
As venous insufficiency gets worse, uncomfortable symptoms can develop. Aching and cramping of the legs, especially at night, is very common. Sufferers may also experience swelling of the lower leg and foot, and fatigue of the legs at the end of a long day. Elevation of the legs often improves the symptoms, which is an indication the discomfort is a direct result of venous insufficiency.
Varicose Veins Can Lead to Skin Changes
Skin changes are another concerning symptom that can accompany varicose veins. As blood flow in the lower leg is compromised, less blood, oxygen and nutrients can reach the surrounding skin and tissue. This leads to tissue damage, which can appear as skin thickening and discoloration. If left unchecked, open sores can develop on the lower leg around the ankle. Known as venous ulcers, these sores have a high infection and recurrence rate, making them very challenging to treat.
Varicose Veins are Treatable
The good news is varicose veins are treatable today, using outpatient procedures that involve little or no discomfort or downtime. At Advanced Vein & Vascular Center, we use a variety of these vein treatments that allow us to customize procedures to the unique needs of each patient. All of our treatment options eliminate those bulging, twisting veins and their accompanying symptoms. With innovative technology like lasers and radiofrequency energy, we can effectively treat veins without a major disruption to your daily life.
Varicose veins do not have to negatively affect your life. To learn more about your treatment options, contact Advanced Vein & Vascular Center at 610-200-6924.