Varicose Veins, Causes and Treatments
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins, often manifesting as dark blue or purple in color, near the surface of the skin and usually seen on the legs and ankles. Varicose veins may appear enlarged and protrude from the surface of the skin. Some even display a worm-like appearance just beneath the skin. Weakened valves are the cause of varicose veins and they typically develop over time. Normally, the one-way valves in a vein keep blood flowing up the leg and back toward the heart. When those valves don’t work as well as they should, blood pools in your legs and pressure builds up.
Some of the more serious symptoms of varicose veins are:
- Leg and ankle swelling
- Heaviness, burning, itching or pain in the calf, ankles and feet
- Skin changes such as thinning, scaling, color changes
Varicose veins are usually the result of genetic factors, such as having a parent with vein problems, or obesity. People working in occupations that require standing for long periods of time are also more prone to developing varicose veins.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Chances of Developing Varicose Veins
- Wearing compression stockings when you have to stand for a long time
- Staying active and implementing regular cardiovascular exercise
- Keeping your body weight within recommended norms
- Elevating your legs at night or after long periods of standing
For many people, varicose veins are the inevitable result of aging. In most cases, varicose veins are the result of gravity, degrading valve function which causes reflux, or a reversal of the blood flow in the vein. All of this leads to vein dilation, stasis, and ulceration, which are the medical terms for the bulging and darkening effects. Varicose veins are not a life-threatening condition, such as blood clots, but they can cause pain and disability. At The Vascular Experts , we recommend that patients who are experiencing complications of varicose veins such as pain or skin changes seek medical care. Getting timely medical attention before those changes become severe is best because we now have minimally invasive treatments that can prevent significant complications of varicose veins.
The old days of surgical treatments for varicose veins are gone. Many varicose vein treatments can be done quickly—usually in 20-30 minutes as an outpatient procedure. Patients can return to normal activity immediately, without uncomfortable and unsightly veins. At The Vascular Experts, we strive to deliver the best possible patient experience while delivering real, lasting results for treatment of varicose veins. For more information, or to make an appointment, contact one of our office locations.
Michael Sergi, MD, FACS
Dr. Sergi is a board certified vascular surgeon at The Vascular Experts, where he applies an evidence-based multidisciplinary approach in order to treat many vascular diseases, including abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms, lower extremity occlusive disease, carotid artery disease, varicose veins and hemodialysis access interventions. He uses only the most current minimally invasive vascular surgery therapies with an emphasis on quality of life and functional outcomes. Dr. Sergi received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and graduated with high honors from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship award receipt and was inducted into Sigma Xi for excellence in scientific research. Please contact Dr. Sergi at MSergi@TheVascularExperts.com with any additional questions.