Are Varicose Veins Harmful?

At some point in their lifetime, approximately one-third of adults develop varicose veins. Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels under the skin on your lower body. They usually bulge, are blue and purple, and can appear on your ankles, feet, or legs. Additionally, they are commonly surrounded by spider veins. You may find your varicose veins unsightly, and you’re probably wondering, “Are varicose veins harmful?”

Can Varicose Veins Go Untreated?

The answer may surprise you. Varicose veins may make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable, but they are usually not harmful. Common symptoms of varicose veins may include burning or throbbing in the lower legs, increased pain after sitting or standing for long stretches of time, heavy or achy legs, and changes in skin color around the varicose veins. Over time, these symptoms may worsen, which is why you may want to consider varicose veins treatment.

If you have noticed varicose veins on your skin, there are treatment options available. A visit with your healthcare provider can help you answer any questions you have about varicose veins as well as address any other concerns you may have related to treatment. It’s important to discuss any discomfort and find the best treatment option that works for you.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins appear when the walls of your veins weaken. As your blood pressure increases, your veins swell, and the valves that move blood in one direction cannot work as they should. Blood that is flowing more slowly pools in your veins, causing varicose veins.

Veins weaken and appear for several reasons. The most prevalent causes of varicose veins include hormones, the aging process, being overweight, wearing tight clothing, and standing or stretching for long periods of time. In fact, hairdressers, teachers, retail industry workers, bartenders, and healthcare workers are most likely to develop varicose veins over time due to extended periods of standing at work.

While varicose veins usually do not indicate severe illness, it’s important to have them examined by your healthcare provider. Doctors diagnose varicose veins by pointing out the obvious signs, as well as with an ultrasound. This pain-free exam uses sound waves to produce pictures of your tissues and can show blood clots as well as valve function.

Varicose Veins Treatment

Although no cure exists for varicose veins, there are several treatment and management options you can consider to decrease your discomfort. Try elevating your legs above your waist several times of day to increase blood flow and lower pressure in your veins. Additionally, you can wear compression stockings to prevent your veins from stretching.

Other treatment options include sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a fluid into your veins to help them stick together and dissolve, as well as laser therapy, which is used to block a damaged vein.

Your doctor also may recommend ligation and stripping, a surgery that involves tying off the infected vein to prevent blood from pooling and then stripping the vein to prevent the reappearance of varicose veins. Importantly, about half of the people who undergo varicose vein surgery see their veins reappear in five years.

If you are considering varicose veins treatment and are wondering how to get insurance to pay for varicose vein removal, call your healthcare provider first. Many insurance companies will cover the costs of varicose vein removal if you are highly symptomatic or if it is medically necessary. You may be able to work with your doctor to make such a case to your insurance provider so that you can access treatment more affordably.

Varicose veins can look unpleasant and cause discomfort, but there is typically no reason to be alarmed when they pop up. Still, if you’ve started to notice varicose veins on your skin, you may have other questions. If you live in Denver or the surrounding areas, the professionals at Colorado Skin & Vein are here to answer your questions and provide solutions related to varicose veins treatment and management.

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