Many people notice the appearance of their veins but they may not necessarily appreciate the symptoms that come along with having varicose veins. Swelling, itching, aching and cramps can all be caused from varicose veins. Nighttime tends to be the worst. Nights after standing for long periods of time during the day can be associated with an inability to sleep due to restless legs, itching in the calves, painful swelling and night cramps when you have varicose veins.
Varicose veins can range from smaller bluish-green veins to large earthworm sized veins that seem to snake down the leg. Though larger veins tend to suggest significant disease, oftentimes the smaller veins can represent the “tip of the iceberg” of a deeper underlying problem.
The key to determining whether or not you should seek medical attention for your veins depends on whether you are having any symptoms. Changes in the skin like darkening, dryness, redness, flakiness, and spontaneous bleeding after hot showers, are signs of advanced venous disease and should prompt you to see a vein specialist.
Normally venous blood flows up the leg, working against gravity toward the heart. Blood is prevented from flowing backward by tiny, one-way valves in the veins. Venous insufficiency is an abnormality that is caused when blood flows backward down the leg through valves that become weak.
This phenomenon causes superficial veins to become overloaded leading to bulging visible varicose and spider veins. The additional blood flow weighs down the leg and creates heaviness and fatigue when standing for long periods of time.
The end stage of venous insufficiency is the development of deep venous thrombosis (blood clots) and venous stasis leg ulcers. Unfortunately, sometimes these ulcers can develop spontaneously or after trauma and can take months to years to heal.
Venous insufficiency needs to be monitored on a regular basis. Even after the veins are treated, new veins in different locations can develop. Regular follow-up and treatment is essential in keeping varicose veins under control in order to prevent recurrence of symptoms and to minimize the risk of developing ulcers, deep clots or other complications associated with varicose veins.
New minimally invasive procedures have revolutionized the treatment of venous insufficiency. There has never been a better time than now to fix your varicose veins!
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