Varicose veins are surprisingly common, and while they may be unsightly, they often don’t require treatment. However, they can cause symptoms that shouldn’t be overlooked as more serious problems can sometimes develop.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be dark blue or purple in colour and are visible below the skin. Often found on the legs, they can bulge and be lumpy.
Various factors can contribute to them, including weight, pregnancy and age. Many individuals do not have a particular causal factor to identify, so the condition is not yet entirely understood.
Causes and symptoms of varicose veins
When vein walls are stretched and weakened, which is irreversible, the valves controlling the flow of blood aren’t able to function adequately, allowing blood to collect in the veins and flood to lower extremities such as the legs.
The swollen or twisted nature of varicose veins can result in aches, puffy ankles and feet, a throbbing sensation, itchy skin, and cramps in leg muscles. Standing and warmer temperatures can exacerbate the symptoms.
The potential dangers
The NHS UK website lists some of complications from untreated varicose veins. It is noted that while most people will not experience related problems, complications can arise years after the varicose veins have developed.
Surface vein bulges can result in more extensive bleeding if the skin is cut. Superficial veins can also develop blood clots, which can progress to veins swelling (thrombophlebitis) and even deep vein thrombosis. At the most extreme, a clot could travel and result in a potentially lethal pulmonary embolism.
Blood can leak from the weakened venous walls into the tissues surrounding them, causing inflammation and visible darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation).
Inadequate blood flow over a prolonged period will mean your skin may not exchange sufficient nutrients, waste and oxygen with the blood, a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. Other complications can stem from this, including hardened skin (lipodermatosclerosis), leg ulcers and varicose eczema. These conditions can be painful, sore, unsightly and very uncomfortable.
A vein specialist can offer advice on treatment, such as the varicose vein treatment in Cheshire that can be found at http://www.veinsolutions.co.uk/.
Should any of the above develop, including excessive bleeding or ulcers, immediate medical attention should be sought.