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All About Varicose Veins

Written By: Emma Squillace

If you have visible veins in your legs, these may be varicose veins. This is one of the most common complaints of people who come to see the vein specialists in our California offices. Today we’ve answered some of the most common questions we get about varicose veins:

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins start as normal veins, and then grown in size. They often appear on the legs, and are visible through the skin. Sometimes varicose veins are confused with spider veins. The difference is spider veins looks like small starbursts, and varicose veins are longer, visible veins that may appear to twist or bunch up under your skin.

How common are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are very common! Some studies have shown that as much as 40 – 60% of adult females will have varicose veins at some point. Although these visible veins are more common in females, men can suffer from them as well and our specialists see both women and men coming in for treatment.

Can varicose veins cause symptoms?

Yes, for some people varicose veins cause symptoms. Many people who have varicose veins find that they are primarily a cosmetic problem. They limit summer wardrobes, and make people feel self-conscious about their appearance. However, other people develop symptoms related to their varicose veins. Itching, redness, burning, throbbing and restlessness in the legs are all regularly reported symptoms.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

While minor varicose veins are not generally dangerous, they can lead to more serious complications. The rare, but serious, complications from varicose veins can be painful skin ulcers, bleeding if a vein bursts, and blood clots. This is one benefit of having your varicose veins assessed by a professional – our testing allows us to evaluate your blood flow in a completely non-invasive way.

What are the risk factors for having varicose veins?

Anyone can develop these visible veins, but risk factors include: obesity, since this puts extra pressure on the veins in your legs; pregnancy; heredity/family history; taking hormone supplements like birth control; a job where you sit or stand a lot regularly (this can interfere with blood flow).

How do you prevent varicose veins?

While there are steps you can take to limit your risk of developing varicose veins, there is no sure way to prevent them. To lower your risk of developing varicose veins, here are some steps you can take: Maintain a healthy weight, use sunscreen, make sure to move often through out the day (even a 5 minute brisk walk each hours can help a lot), find times to elevate your legs, and avoid a high-salt diet.

Can these veins be treated?

Yes, varicose veins are treatable, and a range of options is available. If your mom, or an older friend, was every treated for varicose veins, they may have stories of a fairly invasive treatment. The good news is recent innovations have allowed vein specialists to treat varicose veins in a much more minimally invasive way. Many treatments are done quickly and comfortably in our office, with little to no downtime.

Can treating varicose veins interfere with my normal blood flow?

While it may seem like treating these veins could interfere with the blood flow in your legs, this is not a concern. This may sound unbelievable, but scientists say there are so many blood vessels in an adult human, that if you laid them all out end to end, they’d stretch almost 100,000 miles! Many of those include tiny blood vessels thinner than 1 hair, but there are still many veins working to carry blood in our legs. Treating the superficial varicose veins will not interfere with blood flow, because of our deep vein structure. And remember, those varicose veins are not working properly anyway.

What will a specialist do if I have an appointment for varicose veins?

When you come in for an appointment, we’ll start by asking you questions and doing a visual examination of your varicose veins. We may also do an ultrasound, since this gives us a more in depth look at the vein structure. This will also let us understand your blood flow in the affected areas, which gives us the opportunity to recommend the best treatment for your individual case.

As we get older, varicose veins can be a reality for many of us. You may have no symptoms from these veins, or you may have pain, itching, or throbbing in your legs.  Many people who visit the West Medical offices for varicose vein treatment are hoping to improve their symptoms, or to increase their confidence by returning their legs to a smooth and more youthful look. If you have varicose veins and would like to learn about your treatment options, we’d love to speak with you. Please call our offices at (855) 690-0565.

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