They affect approximately 23% of all Americans, especially women. They primarily affect the feet and legs. Although usually harmless, they can sometimes cause discomfort. What are they? Varicose veins.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are usually a dark blue or purple color and appear bulging and twisted or spidery. They often appear in the legs because leg veins have added pressure on them due to standing and walking. If the walls and valves of the veins are weak or damaged, varicose veins can occur. The valves inside the veins that open and close to allow blood flow to the heart can become weak, causing blood to pool or flow backwards. The result is large, distorted veins, or varicose veins. They also can be caused due to pregnancy, constipation, tumors, or obesity.
Varicose Vein Complications
Although complications are rare, they can happen. When varicose veins are inflamed, they can become tender and can hinder circulation. This can cause swollen ankles, itchiness, and achiness. Ulcers can form, especially near the ankles. Ulcers are evident by a discolored spot on the skin. If you develop an ulcer, you should contact your doctor immediately. Swelling in the legs can indicate a blood clot. Sometimes, a vein near the skin will burst, causing bleeding. If any of these instances occur, contact your doctor.
Treatment/Prevention of Varicose Veins
Preventing varicose veins cannot be guaranteed. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk in developing them. Mainly, improved circulation and muscle tone can help. Exercise, watching your weight, avoiding high heels, elevating your legs, and adjusting your sitting/standing position can help.
If varicose veins cause you pain, there are things you can try at home. You can wear compression socks, elevate your legs on a pillow or chair when you can, and get exercise. Sometimes, losing weight can also help to take some of the pressure off of your veins.
Varicose veins can be removed through surgery. Some patients choose to do this, whether for cosmetic reasons or to treat pain and other symptoms. If you are still experiencing pain and home remedies are not working, your doctor may recommend a surgery to remove your varicose veins.
If you are considering having surgery performed on your varicose veins, contact the Surgery Center of Fort Collins for more information! We do perform this surgery for patients, and it is often more affordable and less stressful to have it done at our ambulatory surgery center as opposed to in a hospital setting. Call 970-494-4800 for more information or to schedule an appointment.