What You Need To Know About Those Bulging Veins In Your Legs
It's shorts weather and as you look at yourself in the mirror, you notice more of those dark blue blood vessels right under the skin on your legs. These are likely varicose veins. While not often a health threat, they can become unsightly and painful if allowed to grow. A visit with your general practitioner will determine if the veins can be easily gotten rid of or if more extensive treatment is needed.
A Common Problem
The Vascular Disease Foundation says that nearly 27 percent of the population develop varicose veins. They are the result of the weakening of the blood vessel wall and failure of the little valves in the vessel. This allows blood to pool in the vessel instead of moving directly through it. As the blood pools, the blood vessel is stretched and can become twisted and enlarged. If you can just see the tiny bluish veins in your leg under the skin, these are the beginnings of varicose veins. With a more advanced case, you can feel the bulge of the vessel and see little twists and turns.
Symptoms Common to Varicose Veins
Initially, other than the appearance of the blood vessels, you'll have no symptoms. As the vessel collects more blood in it, you can begin to experience one or more of the following issues:
- swelling in your feet and ankles
- itching directly over the blood vessel
- aching and fatigue in your legs
- burning feeling around the vessels
In severe cases, you can have:
- swelling in your legs
- pain in your calf muscles
The options available to you depend on the severity of the varicose veins. They are easier to treat if you see your doctor when you first spot them.
Some of the non-invasive treatments that you doctor will offer include:
- using compression stockings to stimulate the blood flow through the vessels in your legs
- elevating your legs when lying down or sitting
- doing leg exercises to increase muscle tone and circulation in your legs
If these don't prevent the veins from getting worse, your doctor will refer you to a vascular specialist to talk about one of these surgical treatments:
- sclerotherapy - This involves the injection of a solution directly into the varicose vein, causing it to collapse and the blood in it to clot. Over a few weeks, your body will absorb the vein, making it fade away.
- laser therapy - This treatment uses a laser on the vein to create scar tissue in the blood vessel. Again, your body will eventually absorb the vein and it will disappear.
- radiofrequency ablation - This works like the laser therapy but uses sound waves to create the scar tissue.
- phlebectomy - This is the physical removal of the vein in sections at a time.
Initially, you may want to get rid of your varicose veins for cosmetic reasons. But if untreated varicose veins continue to get bigger, you will want to have them treated to prevent possible future health issues. Visit Alaska Vein Care for more information.