Varicose veins

Varicose veins

Distended or tortuous veins in the lower leg.

Varicose veins impact the lives of 3.7 million Canadians. This common condition affects women more commonly then men. You may notice bulging veins or bluish strings of veins running beneath the skin.

It’s important to understand some of the warning signs of varicose veins and what you can do to fix them.

What are Varicose Veins?

Enlarged veins on the body become twisted, most commonly in veins throughout the legs. When you stand and walk upright, it puts pressure on the veins in your legs. People who spend the majority of their day on their feet are more likely to develop varicose veins.

For many, “spider veins” are a cosmetic issue that impacts their appearance. You may never feel pain or discomfort due to varicose veins. For others, the veins are throbbing and painful, which results in a constant reminder of their presence.

While many people may live their entire life with varicose veins, you don’t have to suffer through the pain. There are many treatment options available for this issue.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Over time, valves weaken which results in pooling of the blood. Arteries that carry blood throughout the body rely on veins to return that blood back to the heart. Veins are working against gravity to pull that blood back up towards the heart.

Along the way, many valves must open to pump blood into the heart. After, they close to prevent the blood from flowing backward. When these valves are weak, blood flows backward, which causes the veins to twist and the blood to pool.

There are a few factors that may increase or decrease your chances of developing varicose veins. Here are some of them:

  • Age: Aging naturally causes the valves to weaken, which increases your chances of developing varicose veins.
  • Sex: Women are more likely to have varicose veins due to hormonal changes throughout life. Any change in hormonal balance like with pregnancy, menstruation, or birth control may cause irreversible changes.
  • Family history: You have a greater chance of developing varicose veins if someone in your family has had them.
  • Obesity: Excess weight in the midsection puts pressure on your veins. This factor speeds up the process of pooling in your veins.
  • Prolonged standing: People who work on their feet all day are at increased risk of developing varicose veins.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

You may notice spider veins on your legs but experience no pain. Here are some symptoms to look out for if you think you might have varicose veins:

  • Dark purple or blue veins.
  • Veins that appear mangled and bulging.
  • Aching in your legs.
  • Burning or throbbing in your lower legs.
  • Itchy veins.
  • Skin discoloration around problem.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?

You should see a Chiropodist or Podiatrist if the pain becomes disruptive to your everyday life. Even if you don’t experience any pain, you should seek help if the varicose veins hurt your self-image and make you feel nervous about your appearance.
Treatment Options

There are many surgical options, such as laser removal of varicose veins. This procedure is painless and non-invasive. You can also wear compression socks to help reduce the pain and appearance of varicose veins.

Reducing salt intake and elevating your legs in the evening will help manage the symptoms.

Don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help with your painful varicose veins. There are many different treatment options available.