What Are Varicose Veins?
The adult body contains nearly 100 miles of blood vessels. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins. Arteries pump blood from the heart and deliver it to the veins via the capillaries, depositing oxygen along the way. The veins return the deoxygenated blood to the heart to complete the cycle. When complications cause pressure to build in our veins, they swell and bulge, creating varicose veins at the surface. This common condition affects 3 out of 10 adults, with a higher incidence in women.
- Varicose veins are usually caused by a vascular disease called chronic venous insufficiency.
- You can often identify varicose veins by their large, raised, and twisted shape with a bluish-purple or reddish-purple color.
- Varicose veins tend to occur below the waist, since veins in the lower extremities must contend with the gravitational pull as well as the pressure caused by walking or standing.
- Different factors can elevate blood pressure in your veins and cause varicosities, including pregnancy, weight gain, aging, and prolonged periods of sitting or standing. But your genetic propensity for varicose veins plays a significant role.
- Treatment for varicose veins is minimally invasive at Texas Vein Treatment Clinic, alleviating the symptoms and any underlying vascular disease, as well as the undesirable appearance.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
In rare cases, varicose veins stem from venous inflammation (phlebitis), or from a congenital venous abnormality. Varicose veins resulting from leg injuries or blood clots, both of which can weaken vein walls, are slightly more common. But the most common cause of varicose veins is the underlying condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Arteries have no valves, since they receive blood from the heart with such force that it can only flow in one direction. But leg veins rely on one-way valves to prevent blood from flowing backward, rather than up to the heart. If these valves falter, the veins swell and enlarge with pressure, forming varicose veins. Since leg veins propel blood on its ascent, valve failure in leg veins is more likely to cause pooling and varicosity than failure in a vessel tasked with blood’s descent.
What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Some patients don’t notice any symptoms of varicose veins. But many patients visit our Texas vein center seeking relief from the following symptoms.
- Bulging veins that are larger and more twisted than healthy veins
- Swelling in your calves, ankles, or feet
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Spider veins clustered near the varicosity
- Nighttime leg cramps or restless legs
- Hardened skin from inflamed fat layer below (lipodermatosclerosis)
- Skin discoloration (blue or brown) around a vein
- Itching around one or more of your veins (venous eczema)
- Burning or throbbing sensations in lower legs
Who Is Affected by Varicose Veins?
Since varicose vеіnѕ stem from increased blood pressure and weakened vein walls and valves, anyone can develop them. But a family history of varicose veins is a strong predictor.
They’re more common in women after pregnancy or childbirth (especially multiple births) or after menopause. For men, the chance increases after they turn 50. And for everyone, the risk is higher if your job entails sitting or standing for several hours in a row.
Varicose Vein Treatments:
The doctors at Texas Vein Center offer several effective varicose vein treatments. We determine the best one for you by analyzing your venous anatomy. Factors like size, location, and symptoms of the affected vein determine the ideal solution. Our doctors will also address any skin changes like ulceration or dermatitis that stem from diseased veins.
Potential Treatments Include
- Sclerotherapy: іnjecting a foamy or liquid sclerosing solution to collapse the vein
- Ablаtіоn: targeting radiofrequency or laser energy at defective veins to destroy them
- Surgеrу: extracting varicose veins by pulling or stripping them (phlebectomy)
- Lеg еlеvаtіоn while asleep or while seated for long periods of time
- Using compression ѕtосkіngѕ to minimize pressure on the veins
NOTE: Texas Vein Center favors sclerotherapy and radiofrequency ablation for most patients with varicosities.
Is Varicose Vein Treatment Safe?
Varicose vein treatments are generally safe and efficient for patients who choose a qualified physician. The risks are substantially lower with the latest minimally invasive procedures. To avoid unnecessary complications, visit our Texas vein experts. Our highly trained team analyzes each aspect of your venous health, as well as your overall health, to prescribe the optimal treatment.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency?
While varicose veins are sometimes easy to spot, they require deeper investigation. Our vein doctors examine your visible symptoms, like discoloration, eczema, or ulcers. We also inquire about your general health and wellbeing, and whether you’re losing sleep due to leg cramps or restless legs. These symptoms are important clues in diagnosing venous insufficiency. If we suspect this vascular condition, we’ll use tools like duplex ultrasound machines to look for blood clots, damaged veins, and the connections between diseased and healthy veins. Our Houston vein doctors are renowned for treating the cause, not just the symptoms.