What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged blue, red, or flesh-colored veins. These veins appear swollen and embossed on the surface of the skin. They also often look bulging and twisted, which appear like messy cords. These veins can often be found on the back of the calves, inside the leg, or on the thighs. Varicose veins can form around the vagina and buttocks during pregnancy.
What causes these varicose veins to appear?
When someone has a weak or damaged valve in the veins, varicose veins form. The circulatory process goes that when the heart pumps oxygen-filled blood to the whole body through arteries, the veins carries the blood from the body back to the heart. When the blood flows through your legs, the muscles there squeeze it so they help blood be pushed back to the heart, even against the flow of gravity. Veins have valves that act as a one-way flap to prevent the blood to flow back as it moves up to the heart. If the heart is damaged or weak, the blood leaks back and collects. Veins become varicose when the backed-up blood makes them bigger.
How common are varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur more in women than in men. Around 50 to 55 percent of women have this type of vascular problem while 40 to 45 percent of men suffer from this. Varicose veins affect mostly people 50 years and older.
How do I know if I need treatment for this condition?
Varicose veins usually do not require immediate varicose veins treatment and is not a very serious condition. However, there are instances you should look out for where you should call your doctor immediately:
- If you leg becomes painful and swollen. If this happens, you might have a blood clot in the vein, which is a serious condition and needs immediate attention.
- If the vein becomes red, warm, tender to touch.
- If there are sores or rashes in the leg that do not respond to medicine or don’t heal promptly.
- If the skin over the varicose veins begins to bleed on its own or when injured, even lightly. The skin over these veins is often thin, so when this happens, raise your leg and directly apply pressure to the vein to stop the bleeding.
- If your leg has a tender lump, which could mean a clot or inflammation in the vein under the skin. This is usually dangerous but may need proper varicose veins treatment.
- When the skin around the ankle becomes thick and the color changes.
- When you leg symptoms start to interfere with your daily activity.
- If the appearance of the veins is causing you a lot of stress.
If you are getting stressed about your varicose veins, do not hesitate to go the doctor even if you don’t have any serious symptoms. It’s always good to be aware of this condition and take the precautionary steps to prevent it from getting worse.