Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins. Any superficial vein may become varicosed, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.
Varicose veins are most common after age 50. It is more prevalent in females.
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins a common. There is a hereditary role. It has been seen in smokers, those who have chronic constipation, and in people with occupations which necessitate long periods of standing such as lecturers, nurses, conductors (musical and bus), stage actors, umpires (cricket, javelin, etc.), the Queen’s guard, lectern orators, security guards, traffic police officers, vendors, surgeons, etc
A common, mild variation of varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.
What is varicose veins
“Varicose veins, also known as varicoses, are a medical condition in which superficial veins become enlarged and twisted”
Varicose veins are a common condition caused by weak or damaged vein walls and valves. Varicose veins may form whenever blood pressure increases inside your veins.
They don’t usually cause serious health problems. If veins are painful or bleeding, or if the area is swollen, see your healthcare provider. You can reduce symptoms with at-home remedies or have veins treated with minimally invasive procedures.
Which organs have chances to get affected by varicose veins
This health topic focuses primarily on varicose veins in the legs, but sometimes varicose veins form in other parts of the body.
Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein that develops in the rectum.
Varicose occur in the testicles and may be linked to infertility in men. Varicose veins can also develop in the esophagus, stomach, or liver.
Other vein problems that affect smaller blood vessels are telangiectasia and spider veins.
Veins can be damaged by disease and injury. During the aging process, veins naturally lose elasticity and become less flexible .
Difference between varicose veins and spider veins
Varicose veins and spider veins are both types of venous disease, but they look different. Spider veins are smaller and thinner than varicose veins. They look like a red or blue spider webs or branches of a tree, and they are close to the skin’s surface.
Spider veins aren’t usually painful. They can appear anywhere on the body, most often behind the knee, on the feet or on the face. Varicose veins usually appear on the feet and legs.
Epidemiology of varicose veins
Varicose veins are very common. Around one-third of all adults have varicose veins. They are more common in women than in men.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins may not cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include;-
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
- Veins that appear twisted & bulging
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin discoloration around a varicose vein
- Appearance of spider veins (telangiectasia) in the affected leg
- Ankle swelling
- A brownish-yellow shiny skin near the affected veins
- Redness, dryness, and itchiness of areas of skin, termed stasis dermatitis or venous eczema
- Muscle cramps when making sudden movements, such as standing
- Abnormal bleeding or healing time for injuries in the affected area
- Shrinking skin near the ankles
- Restless legs syndrome appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in people with varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency
- White, scar-like formations
- Burning or throbbing sensation in the legs.
How do varicose veins look like?
Most often, varicose veins develop on the lower half of the body, usually on the calves, ankles and feet. They can also develop in the pelvic area (pelvic congestion syndrome), especially in women who have had children. Varicose veins in the testicles (varicocele) can lead to infertility in men.
Causes of varicose veins
There are following factors that are responsible for varicose veins;-
- Tobacco consumption:- People who smoke are more likely to develop varicose veins.
- Obesity:- Obesity and excess weight put pressure on blood vessels. This can make them twisty and the chances of varicose veins increase.
- Lifestyle:- Standing or sitting for long periods decreases circulation. Wearing restrictive clothing, such as girdles or pants with tight waistbands, can decrease blood flow.
- Having blood clots previously:- If you’ve had any trauma to your legs or veins, this may weaken them, increasing your chances of developing varicose veins.
- Heredity:- If anyone in family has varicose veins then the chances of varicose veins increase.
- Gender:- Female hormones can allow the walls of the veins to stretch. Women who are pregnant, taking the birth control pill or going through menopause have a higher risk of varicose veins because of changes in hormone levels.
- Aging:- During the aging process, vein walls and valves don’t work as well as they used to. Veins lose elasticity and stiffen. This can be lead to varicose veins.
Complications and risk factors
Varicose veins can cause ulcers (open sores), bleeding and skin discoloration if left untreated. Most varicose veins are reasonably benign, but severe varicosities can lead to major complications, due to the poor circulation through the affected limb.
Severe varicose veins may be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency. This condition affects the veins’ ability to pump blood to the heart.
People who have varicose veins may be more likely to develop blood clots. It’s important to tell your healthcare provider about varicose veins. Your provider should evaluate and monitor you for clotting disorders such as: –
- Pain, tenderness, heaviness, inability to walk or stand for long hours
- Skin conditions / dermatitis
- Superficial venous thrombosis:- Blood clots can form inside varicose veins, causing a condition called superficial venous thrombosis . It is painful but isn’t usually dangerous. It is treatable.
- Ulcer:- Painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles. A discolored spot on the skin usually begins before an ulcer forms.
- Development of carcinoma or sarcoma in longstanding venous ulcers.These both are types of cancer. Over 100 reported cases of malignant transformation have been reported at a rate reported as 0.4% to 1%
- Bleeding:- Occasionally, veins very close to the skin may burst. This usually causes only minor bleeding. But any bleeding requires medical attention. Severe bleeding from minor trauma, of particular concern in the elderly
- Deep vein thrombosis:- People with varicose veins have a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a vein deep inside the body.
- Acute fat necrosis can occur, especially at the ankle of overweight people with varicose veins. Females have a higher tendency of being affected than males
- Pulmonary embolism:- A blood clot in the body (usually resulting from DVT) can become lodged in the lung. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.
Who is at risk
You have a greater chance of getting varicose veins if any of the following apply to you:-
- Obesity:- Obesity can be fatal as the extra cholesterol deposites in the veins and can block the veins and blood flowing, this lead to the varicose veins.
- Aging:- By the passing of age, our veins got loose and lost elasticity, this can twist the veins and lead to varicose veins.
- Pregnant women:- Pregnant women has high chance of varicose veins as pregnancy associated with an increase in blood volume. Also, added pressure on the veins in the legs by the weight of the growing uterus and the relaxation effects of the hormones estrogen and progesterone on the vein walls contribute to the development of varicose veins during pregnancy.
- Smoker:- Smoking and alcohol products shrink the veins and clodge the blood flow results blood clots and that lead to the varicose veins.
- Office work:- People who have job in which they have to standing or sitting for a long periods of time have high chance to varicose veins because in varicose veins, veins can’t bear your body pressure for a long period of time.
Tips to prevent varicose veins
There’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone may reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. The same measures you can take to treat the discomfort from varicose veins at home can help prevent varicose veins, including:-
- Avoid standing for long periods of time:- To encourage blood flow, take regular breaks to stretch and walk around, especially if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet.
- Exercise regularly:- Your leg muscles are your biggest allies. Why? They help your veins push blood to the heart. This is very useful since your muscles are working against gravity. Any leg exercises will also help prevent the appearance of new varicose veins.
- Cut down some weight:- You’re placing more stress on your legs if you are overweight or obese. Losing weight can also keep new varicose veins from forming. There are a lot of benefits to losing weight other than helping with varicose veins. It also reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
- Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes:- This can place more pressure on your legs, which can make varicose veins worse.
- Always positioned your feet on a chair or stool:- When possible, place your feet on a chair or stool positioned, so the blood will be able to flow back toward your heart. This is particularly important if you have a job that requires you to stand or sit for long periods of time.
- Quit tobacco:- Smoking shrink the veins. Smoking damages blood vessels, decreases blood flow and causes a wide range of health problems.