Varicose Veins are not just unsightly, but could hint at what lies under your skin.

What are varicose veins?

Let’s start with the basics, veins are the vessels that carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Arteries are the vessels that bring oxygenated blood from the heart to all the body tissues. Within our venous system (veins) there are one-way valves that keep blood moving forward back toward the heart. If the valves get weak or damaged blood can start pooling in the veins causing the veins to swell and become damaged. As damage occurs the veins will create collateral vessels that we can see just beneath the skin. These are frequently referred to as “spider veins” medically known as Telangiectasias. Spider veins are visible just under the skin and usually appear as tiny web like red, blue, or purple veins. Varicose veins are the larger swollen veins that run deeper in the tissue these would be the bottom of the “iceberg” below the ocean. The superficial spider veins are the tip of the “iceberg.” Don’t be fooled that those tiny veins arm harmless as if untreated, in some cases, complications can arise.

What are the symptoms?

Some patients have no symptoms related to the varicose veins. Others have severe symptoms including leg swelling, throbbing, aching, itching, cramping, and leg heaviness. These symptoms can interfere with daily living and activities.

Who is at risk?

There are many factors that can put one at risk for varicose veins.

  • Genetics

Genetics alone is the single biggest risk factor for developing varicose veins. In these cases we can thank our parents for passing on the genes that included leaky or weak valves.

  • Age

As we age the vessels become weaker and our skin and tissues become frail.

  • Occupation

Occupations that involve standing or sitting in place for long periods of time can put one at risks. Jobs such as nursing, secretarial, factory workers, and waitressing put you at risk for developing varicose and spider veins.

  • Pregnancy

Hormonal changes, weight gain, and increased circulating volume all increase the risk of developing varicose veins.

  • Obesity

The added pressure put on the veins increases the risk of leaky valves and blood pooling.

  • Gender

Gender alone increases the risk of developing varicose veins due to the hormonal fluctuations throughout life.

What are my options?

First line treatment is lifestyle including simple changes such as taking breaks to elevate the legs on pillows or recliner to promote venous return back to the heart. Wearing compression stockings during the day for about 3-6 months is recommended and required by many insurance companies before medical treatments can proceed. Compression stocking generally should be 20-30mmHg to assist in preventing pooling of the blood.

The next step to your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs by our experience medical staff at Mints Medical as our mission is to help you improve your health so that you can do the things you love. We want our patients to leave feeling confident and comfortable. Pain should not slow you down. To schedule a vascular intervention consultation visit us on the web at www.mintsmedical.com/free-consultation or call today at  (844) 646-8763.

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