Varicose veins are large, swollen, “rope-like” veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. Usually occurring in the legs, varicose veins are a common venous disease and can appear in other parts of the body. Approximately half of the population has some form of venous disease, and varicose veins affect about one out of two people age 50 and older, and 15-25% of all adults.
At Metro Heart & Vascular, we know that while varicose veins and spider veins, a common, mild variation of varicose veins, can be a cosmetic concern, they can also indicate the presence of a more serious problem.
Varicose veins occur when veins are not properly returning blood from the lower leg to the heart. All veins have valves that open to allow the flow of blood to the heart and close to prevent backflow (otherwise known as “reflux”) of blood to the foot. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through and flows down the leg in the wrong direction. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in the bulging seen in varicose veins.
The walls and valves of veins are thin and elastic, and can stretch due to a variety of conditions including pregnancy, heredity and age. When varicose veins become severe, it is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency.
Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include aching pain, swelling, easy leg fatigue and leg heaviness, all of which worsen as the day progresses. Left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can cause ulcers or non-healing sores which can be very difficult to treat and can sometimes lead to amputation. Learn about our nationally-recognized amputation prevention program and efforts to StAMP out amputations.
The vascular specialists at Metro Heart and Vascular can meet with you and perform a simple physician exam to check for varicose veins or other common diseases. They can also perform the latest techniques and therapies in the treatment of varicose veins and other vascular and arterial diseases. Call to schedule your appointment today.