Varicose veins are ropey, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. Varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more serious problems and may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. This diagram shows the actual anatomy of a “faulty vein valve”, which in turn causes the varicose veins and symptoms.
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
- Age – The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of being pumped up to your heart.
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation, or menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.
- Family history – If other family members have had varicose veins, there is a greater chance you will too.
- Obesity – Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time – Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.
Varicose veins usually don’t cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include:
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs
When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention
Since there are numerous diagnostic procedures and treatments available, it is important to choose a doctor with the right medical background and access to the latest technology including Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Exam capabilities. Athens Vein & Thoracic Specialists services include the following:
Treatments can be combined with Pro-Nox Nitrous Oxide System for pain and anxiety relief. Athens Vein and Thoracic Specialists is one of the few practices in the area offering this combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide which is effective enough to ease pain and anxiety without medication.