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Varicose Veins: Symptoms, Causes, Complications, and Prevention

Varicose veins are twisted and swollen veins. Many people have, at some point, had varicose veins, which can occur in any part of the body. However, varicose veins are common in the leg area, specifically around the back of the legs, and around the muscles. Varicose veins can also occur on the feet. Mainly, the feet and legs are the most common locations affected by varicose veins, because they withstand a lot of pressure when standing or walking. Walking or standing for long hours, can cause varicose veins, as the veins are strained. Besides, wearing high heeled shoes can contribute to varicose veins as they increase the pressure even further. Engaging in strenuous exercises or excessive use of long hours on your feet can lead to varicose veins.

It is essential first to understand how veins work. Veins are blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood to the heart for recirculation. Veins are therefore designed to carry blood against gravitational force. In this regard, they have valves that prevent blood from flowing back, as a result of the gravitational force. The muscles located in the legs facilitate the pumping of blood in the veins towards the heart. The vein walls are elastic, which is a biological characteristic that allows blood to return to the heart seamlessly. The valves in the veins open for blood to move to the heart and then close to prevent blood from flowing back.

For some people, varicose veins can cause mild effects, whereas to others it can bring about a lot of pain and suffering. In many occasions, it can cause severe health problems. Varicose veins can also be a sign of other health-related conditions, including heart illnesses that may need an urgent medical response. Equally, the treatment process of varicose veins may entail following a home remedy regimen, such as exercises or diet planning, including adhering to a set of doctor’s advice. On the other hand, it can entail a detailed doctor’s intervention, such as surgical procedures to remove the swollen veins.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

For some people, varicose veins may be painless. It can also be linked to immense pain and increased discomfort to others, especially when walking or sitting. People with varicose veins often have noticeable veins that appear dark blue or purple. The veins can seem spider-like, twisted or entwined and swollen. They commonly appear at the back of your legs, and even more prominent on the feet, especially for athletes or people who walk or stand for long hours.

Confusing varicose veins with spider veins is possible. However, spider veins are often smaller and located superficially, as they always appear nearer to the skin’s surface. They are also bluish or red as compared to varicose veins that look blue or purple. Some people have spider veins on the face. Spider veins, like the name suggests, have an outline of a spider web.

For people who experience immense pain in the areas with enlarged varicose veins tend to feel as if their legs are heavy or sore. They, therefore, may have problems walking around or standing for long, as their feet may become numb. They can also develop muscle pains that are related to an itching or burning sensation. Sitting for long or standing for long can result in worsening pains and numbness. Painful varicose veins can also become scratchy, and this can stimulate a burning desire to scratch them, further causing more damage to the veins. Any further damage to the affected veins can result in broken skin, leading to bleeding. In such a case, the individual may need urgent medical attention to prevent further damage to the veins or secondary health problems, such as infections.

What are the Causes of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are common in the elderly because when they age, their veins begin to lose their elasticity, further allowing them to stretch. The flow of blood towards the heart, against gravity, fails. Equally, as they age, the valves located in the veins become weak and therefore, fail to withstand the pressure of the blood caused by gravity. In this regard, the blood fails to flow smoothly towards the heart and may flow backward, causing varicose veins. The blood veins may appear bluish or purplish because they are carrying deoxygenated blood.

Varicose veins are also common in many women during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes a rise in the level of blood in the body, but lowers the blood flow from the legs to the pelvis. This is a biological process aimed at supporting the growing fetus, but it may lead to swollen veins in the legs. Hormonal changes can also cause varicose veins in pregnant women. However, this condition can subside without medical treatment, after birth.

The Right Time to Get Medical Attention

In many occasions, varicose veins can be managed by adhering to home remedies, such as wearing compression stockings or engaging in a recommended exercise regime. Resting while elevating your legs up to allow blood flow can help ease pain and reduce the enlargement of the veins.

Besides, avoiding standing for long hours on end and avoiding walking for long can improve the condition from going out of hand. However, in case you have tried out all these remedies, but still, the condition continues to worsen, or when you feel the pain does not subside, then you may need to consult a doctor for further treatment and care plans.

The complications of varicose veins

Varicose veins can lead to other complications, especially when the condition worsens.

  • One can develop ulcers that may occur on the skin surrounding the varicose veins. The area around the feet can develop ulcers with full blood pressure.
  • Blood clots can also appear, especially for the deep-seated veins. When this occurs, the affected area can result in swelling and pain. This is a sign of urgent medical attention.
  • On many occasions, varicose veins can bring about bleeding, which is caused by ruptured veins, located close to the skin. Regardless of the fact that bleeding, in this case, may be negligent, it can be recurrent. Therefore, you need to seek urgent medical attention.

How to Prevent Varicose Veins

The best way to prevent varicose veins is by ensuring that your blood circulation is normal. Besides, your muscles should be functioning normally. Recommended exercises can help with blood circulation and building muscle strength, further lowering your chances of getting varicose veins. You can also consider eating healthy and watching your weight. Also, avoid standing or walking for long hours. Take a rest whenever you feel tired walking or standing. Moreover, it is advisable to seek medical advice whenever you begin to see the symptoms of varicose veins. Remember, when symptoms persist, seek medical help.

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