Most people with varicose veins do not need treatment unless they want the removal for cosmetic reasons. However, there are signs and symptoms that anyone with the condition should be on the lookout for. Experiencing one should result in a call to a physician. Ignoring these symptoms could lead to serious and painful complications.
The condition of the arteries and veins is crucial for overall health. The veins must be free of clotting or poor circulation. They return the blood to the heart from the feet. The blood travels up the legs and is prevented from flowing backward by small one-way valves. Too much pressure by the blood can cause the valves in the legs and pelvis to break.
Symptoms to Watch For
- Heavy, achy feeling in the legs
- Throbbing, burning
- Muscle cramps
- Swelling in the lower legs
- Itching around the area of varicosity
- Red discoloration of the skin
- Increased pain after standing or sitting a long time
These are indications that the blood flow through the veins and valves is getting worse and varicose vein treatment should be sought. If there is any doubt about the necessity for treatment, a visit to a specialist such as Metro Vein Centers is in order. Spider veins, which are minor versions of varicose veins can also be treated.
A few suggestions for pain relief at home would be to elevate the legs while sitting down, not standing or sitting too long in one position, exercise, and wearing compression stockings. See a physician if self-care does not help. Symptoms generally worsen with time.
- Bleeding: Sometimes the varicose veins come close to the wall of the skin and can wear it down. Then the slightest scrape or scratch can bring on bleeding. It is usually not serious, but sometimes a large amount of blood can escape.
- Hyperpigmentation: Excess blood can leak into the tissues of the leg and can be accompanied by pain, swelling, and inflammation. The skin darkens and becomes discolored.
- Lipodermosclerosis: This is a long word meaning the hardening and stiffening of the tissues in the leg. It is the result of letting inflammation in the layers of the skin continue without treatment. The leg may be sensitive and tender and the flesh becomes stiff.
- Leg ulcers: Varicose veins very often result in a condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Fluid accumulates in the tissues from the build-up of pressure in the veins. The flesh will eventually break down and expose the tissues underneath and result in a venous leg ulcer. If not treated promptly, the ulcer may enlarge, and the area may become very painful.
- Superficial Thrombophlebitis: The veins just under the skin can become inflamed and can cause decreased blood flow. The skin may turn red along with increasing pain, tenderness, and swelling.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): This is a very rare complication, but worth mentioning because it is life-threatening. DVT is a blood clot that forms deep within the leg. Redness and swelling develop, and it feels like a pulling sensation in the leg or like nerves are being pinched. The danger lies in the clot escaping from the leg and traveling up to and becoming lodged in the lung. Severe chest pain is the major symptom and there should be no hesitating to call for an ambulance.
Metro Vein Centers uses minimally invasive techniques for varicose vein treatments. Treatments such as lasers, radio waves, and sclerotherapy are safe and painless and done in the office.