Five Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Varicose Veins
Are you one of the 40 million people in the United States who have varicose veins? As notoriously unsightly and uncomfortable as they are, varicose veins aren’t generally a cause for concern.
However, in some cases, varicose veins may lead to serious health issues. If you would like to have your varicose veins and spider veins evaluated and possibly treated, Dr. Scott Darling of Missouri Vein Specialists is here in Kansas City to help you maintain excellent circulation and clearer, smoother skin.
Here is a list of five things Dr. Darling would like you to know about varicose veins:
1. The formation of varicose veins has a lot to do with gravity.
Your veins have the difficult job of pushing “used” blood back to the heart for fortification and recirculation. However, working against gravity can take its toll, especially on your legs.
The downward pull of gravity can cause the veins to become dilated, thickened, and twisted, eventually weakening their walls. In addition to gravity, any condition that causes excessive pressure on your abdomen or legs can result in the formation of varicose veins and spider veins.
The leading risk factors for the development and progression of varicose veins include the following:
2. Varicose veins can cause blood clots.
Blood clots are potentially dangerous. When too much blood accumulates in a vein, it can solidify and create a clot – causing a serious medical condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
A blood clot that forms in your vein can break loose and travel to your lungs, causing a sudden blockage in your lung artery. This is a potentially fatal condition referred to as a pulmonary embolism.
3. Varicose veins and spider veins are closely similar, but they are not the same.
Many people mistakenly use these two terms interchangeably. While they may have the same causes, they are two completely different conditions, requiring different avenues of treatment.
As the name implies, spider veins look like thin spider legs and are easily visible through the skin. Any treatment done to address spider veins is for cosmetic reasons only. Varicose veins, on the other hand, involve the deeper veins in your leg and have a ropey, bulging, and bluish appearance.
4. Varicose veins can cause venous ulcers or open skin lesions.
Venous ulcers can occur when there is pressure and excess fluid buildup in a superficial vein, and it gradually damages the tiny blood vessels in your skin above the vein. As a result, your skin can break easily and form a sore or ulcer when scratched or knocked.
Because blood circulation is constant, this type of sore may have difficulty healing, so it is best to see a vein specialist for treatment and to prevent infection.
5. Varicose veins treatment options.
Thankfully, there is a wide variety of treatment options for varicose veins, many of which you can simply do at home. The three Es – exercise, elevation, and elastic compression – form the most basic approach to controlling varicose veins:
You can help keep varicose veins from getting worse through regular, low-impact exercise. Bicycling, walking, and swimming are some of the less-strenuous exercises that you can do to ease the symptoms and improve blood circulation in your legs and throughout your body.
Elevating your legs, ideally above your heart level, three or four times a day for about 15 minutes at a time can provide instant relief and help reduce swelling around varicose veins. Elevation harnesses the natural power of gravity to help your blood to flow toward the heart for proper circulation.
Compression stockings are known to help improve the symptoms of varicose veins and other venous diseases by providing mild compression: Its strongest support starts at your foot and ankle, and the pressure gradually decreases toward the top of the stocking or sock. This pressure gently squeezes the surface arteries and veins, thereby improving blood flow back to your heart.
Top Varicose Vein Treatment in Kansas City
If your varicose veins have been causing you pain and discomfort and you’re worried about their possible complications, you’re in good hands with Dr. Scott Darling. One of the first physicians in the country to be certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Darling is committed to not only taking a minimally invasive approach to treating varicose veins and other vein disorders but also to delivering the best possible patient experience.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Darling, call us today at (816) 792-3400 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!