Not everyone has legs that look like they just stepped out of the latest fashion magazine, but if you have started to feel a little self-conscious about legs that have twisted, bulging veins, you’re not alone. An estimated 20 to 25 million Americans (mostly women) suffer from varicose veins, which technically can appear anywhere on your body, but are most often found on legs, feet, and thighs.
What are Varicose Veins?
Healthy veins are continuously pumping blood from the ends of your legs and other extremities toward your heart. Without the vein valves, gravity would pull all the blood toward the bottom of your feet where it would pool and cause all kinds of damage. Varicose veins develop when the valves that are supposed to push blood toward your heart aren’t strong enough or the vein wall is too thin, and blood is allowed to flow the wrong way through your veins, a condition called venous reflux.
What are the Risk Factors?
Anyone can get varicose veins, but there are some things that can put you at higher risk. Having a family history of the condition is the most common risk factor, as well as getting older and being female. Obese individuals are more likely to suffer from it, and those who had multiple pregnancies, blood clots, or who have jobs that require them to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Getting more physical activity can reduce your risk.
It is also possible to have varicose veins even if you do not see visible veins poking out of your arms or legs. Sometimes these symptoms happen in conjunction with other conditions, or mimic other conditions and can be difficult to identify as varicose veins, so it’s important to talk to a vein specialist if you are concerned. These things might include:
- Swelling in your ankles and legs
- Aches or cramps in your legs
- Legs that always feel heavy
- Restlessness or an inability to relax
- Pain and fatigue in your legs and feet
Treating Varicose Veins
Unfortunately varicose veins do not generally get better on their own, and for most people they get worse. If the veins don’t bother you, it’s not necessary to get treatment, but it’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t develop into the more serious condition of leg ulcers.
The good news is that treatment is more effective and easier than it has ever been. Most varicose vein procedures don’t require surgery, and are covered by many insurance plans. Whether you get treatment using small catheters or opt for the laser procedure, it’s minimally invasive and has a quicker recovery time than some other procedures.
If you think you have varicose veins, the best thing to do is schedule a time to visit with the experienced team at Davis Surgical Associates. You can get an ultrasound and examination to review your options. Call today to find out how easy it can be to diagnose and treat this condition.