Varicose veins are the result of faulty vein valves, which normally help to push “used” blood back to the heart for reoxygenation and recirculation. When one or more of these tiny valves fail to work, blood will pool in that part of the vein. If the vein is near the skin’s surface, it appears as a bulging vein.
Varicose veins are large versions of spider veins. Spider veins have the same issue, but the pooling is much less dramatic.
Over time, blood constantly pooling in the veins can damage them. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to circulatory complications. Let’s talk about what happens in varicose veins, and where you can go in the Kansas City area for outstanding medical treatment of your veins and other vascular issues.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are mostly seen in the legs, but they can appear virtually anywhere on the body. The following are the typical signs and symptoms of varicose veins:
- Prominent veins that are visible in the skin – usually blue or purple in color
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging
- Achy or painful legs
- Itchiness or dry skin around the problematic vein
- Leg swelling
- A heavy feeling in the legs
While it is possible to have varicose veins and not have symptoms, these symptoms can indicate a deeper issue, such as chronic venous disease. Varicose veins due to vein disease that are left untreated can lead to serious circulation issues.
Possible Complications from Varicose Veins
The most common complications that can develop due to varicose veins include the following:
With blood and nutrients not circulating properly, skin changes can occur. The blood pooling in the veins can also affect the adjacent soft tissues, and iron deposits can cause skin discoloration.
Initially, the skin may look reddish around the ankles and lower calves. It can worsen and lead to the skin turning brown. The skin texture also changes, becoming dry, thick, and hard. At this point, the integrity of the skin is impaired and can lead to breaks and infection.
Venous Skin Ulcer
Since the skin integrity is compromised, the skin may easily break, such as when you scratch it (varicose veins can cause itchy skin). Since circulation is an issue, the wound can heal very slowly and can develop open sores where the vein has broken upward through the skin. The sores can easily become infected.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Since blood is pooling in the legs and ankles, there is a risk of a clot forming. Symptoms of blood clots include skin warmth, pain, swelling, and cramping.
Clots that form in deeper veins, far below the skin, cause what is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a serious, life-threatening medical condition, as the clot can break away and travel through the bloodstream, and enter the lungs – causing a fatal pulmonary embolism.
Varicose Vein Treatment in Kansas City, MO
At Missouri Vein Specialists, we can help improve your varicose veins by treating them, thereby reducing your risk of complications. We will let you know your best treatment options after we perform a comprehensive evaluation of your condition. We offer the most advanced vein treatments available for varicose veins, spider veins, and other vascular issues.
To get started on your journey to smoother, more beautiful legs – and a healthier body – schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Darling. Call our Kansas City vein clinic today at (816) 792-3400 or use our appointment request form online now. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!