Varicose veins are quite a common problem. Varicose veins can develop at any age. Most commonly, people consider varicose veins as a cosmetic issue but, it could be more than this. A long term varicose veins or untreated varicose can lead to severe medical conditions, and sometimes, untreated veins can be life-threatening.
Varicose veins can occur in any part of the body, but most often it occurs in the legs or thighs veins. Studies say that 50% of Americans and 7% of India’s youth suffer from varicose veins, most of which are women. Women are more prone to have this disease as compared to men.
Varicose veins can arise abruptly with a variety of symptoms. Many find it hard to recognize the signs & symptoms, and this leads to aggravation of the disease and worsening of the condition.
Our first step should be to identify and recognize the signs and symptoms of varicose veins and treat it as soon as possible.
Below I’m mentioning 5 signs that indicate that it’s time to treat your varicose veins.
5 signs that indicate that it’s time to treat your varicose veins.
- Leg pain and swelling
Leg pain is the most common symptom of varicose veins. Most commonly, varicose vein patients experience dull leg ache of heaviness, especially in the night. If you’re experiencing leg pain on a daily basis, which is interfering in your day to day activities, this means that you should pay attention to your leg.
The swollen leg is also one of the common symptoms of varicose veins which can get worse in the evening / with prolonged standing.
Multiple, huge dilated veins can also occur which are unsightly and the patients often seek treatment for this reason apart from avoiding the complications.
Doctors will examine your leg and ask for an doppler scan to determine if leg pain and swelling is caused by varicose veins or something else.
02. Skin discoloration with rashes & itchiness or burning sensation
If you notice discolored skin, rashes, itchiness or have burning sensation near your ankle, then you should book an appointment for a vascular surgeon. If varicose veins are left untreated for an extended period, it begins to itch or burn, and the skin around the varicose veins starts to appear darker in color. Medical help should be sought if any of the above mentioned symptoms and signs develop.
My advice would be to please get your treatment from a vascular surgeon before the situation gets out of hand.
03. Veins appear bulging and blue, red, or purple in color
Sometimes, patients have severe pain over the leg over the dilated veins which become thickened and cord like; this condition could be due to clot in the superficial veins and is called superficial thrombophlebitis.
There could be a co-existent Deep Vein Thrombosis. Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition that can be life-threatening. Usually, DVT occurs in the deep veins of the leg and thigh.
04. Multiple episodes of bleeding in the leg from the dilated veins (spontaneously or after minor trauma)
There is high venous pressure in veins of the leg and the veins are bulging with thinning of the overlying skin. This causes occasional spontaneous bleeding from the dilated veins (especially if they are present in the area of an ulcer). This can also be caused due to minor trauma to dilated varicose veins. Many times, I have received patients in emergency who have lost a significant amount of blood as blood loss was more due to venous pressure. It should be stopped by putting pressure on the bleeding site and below it as well. Also, leg elevation will help.
Repeated episodes like this is very worrying and the patient should immediately consult the doctor.
05. Leg ulcers
Leg ulcers can often complicate untreated varicose veins. These are often long standing as many people are unaware of how to diagnose them and how to treat them. They can cause a significant morbidity in the patients. Many times, patients come to our OPD with ulcers since as long as 20 years. It is imperative to give the patients a combination treatment of multilayer compression dressings and interventional treatment (laser / RFA / Glue) for varicose veins. Therefore, it is important for patients to visit a vascular surgeon if he has a long standing ulcer especially in the leg.
These are 5 signs that indicate it’s time to treat your varicose veins.
If you’re struggling with any of the problems mentioned above, then you should go to a vein specialist and get your treatment done without any delay.
Who are at risk of developing varicose veins
- Family history
The varicose vein is a genetic disease, and it runs in the family. If any of your family members have had varicose veins, then it is more likely that this disease can also occur to you.
So, if you’re suffering from this, you should check your family history before looking into other causes. Maybe it’s in your genes.
Obesity is one of the significant risk factors for developing varicose veins. Obesity puts pressure on the legs and can compress the veins and strains the walls. Reducing weight can help get some relief.
Most overweight people don’t realize that they are suffering from varicose veins because their bulging veins aren’t visible on the surface of the skin due to excess fat.
Being pregnant can also cause varicose veins because the growing fetus puts pressure on the veins of lower abdomen and pelvis. The excessive force increases the blood pooling in the legs.
Mild varicose veins that occur during pregnancy may disappear on their own after the delivery of the baby. However, if moderate – severe varicose veins develop, they usually need treatment by a specialist.
- Occupation that involves long time standing
It has often been seen that people who are in a profession in which, long time standing is required, tend to develop varicose veins more commonly. For example, soldiers, policemen, shopkeepers who need long time standing, teachers, surgeons who do long surgeries.
If you think you’re at risk of developing varicose veins, then start taking precautions because precaution is better than cure