Should I See a Doctor for My Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can directly impact your health and quality of life — here’s how to know if you’re at risk.
While varicose veins may not pose an immediate risk for some people, they are a serious health concern for thousands of others. In fact, varicose veins may result in painful leg swelling, numbness, skin ulcers that refuse to heal, infections, excessive bleeding, blood clots, and more.
These symptoms make it difficult to enjoy daily activities and can, in some cases, be life-threatening. Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine if your varicose veins are putting you at risk:
1. Swollen, Tender Skin
While varicose veins are a common part of the aging process — a result of worn-out valves that are no longer able to effectively pump blood back to the heart — it’s important to pay close attention to your veins as they change. In particular, varicose veins are a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops deep within the body.
Signs you may have DVT include cramps, discoloration, swelling, and skin that is red, tight, tender and/or warm to the touch.
2. Legs that Ache, Throb, or Feel Uncharacteristically Weak
Blood that fails to circulate properly and pools in the veins can cause patients to experience persistent aches and pains throughout the day. Others may notice that their legs feel weak or heavy. These symptoms are often heightened during warm weather or as a result of excessive sitting or standing.
It’s important to pay attention to these signs of poor vein health, as they can make day-to-day tasks more difficult, directly impacting your quality of life.
3. Itchy, Dry Skin and/or Discoloration
Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin, or lesions, that usually impact tissues below the wound. If left untreated, they can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
Dry, itchy skin, discoloration, and/or a rash on your lower legs or around your ankles all indicate poor circulation and warn of an impending ulcer. Other signs of a leg ulcer include swelling and firm skin that feels almost hard to the touch.
Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins
If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms described above, it’s important to make an appointment with a vein specialist as soon as possible. A vein expert will conduct a comprehensive exam and use the latest in diagnostic equipment to determine the best course of action.
Common forms of modern vein treatments include:
- VenaSeal™: VenaSeal is a type of “glue” injected into spider or varicose veins to create a barrier. This barrier prevents blood from entering the unhealthy vein, thus closing it off and relieving many painful vein-related symptoms.
- Venefit™: Venefit is designed to treat varicose veins, including those that are larger or located deep within the body. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon threads a thin catheter into the abnormal vein and administers radiofrequency energy. This causes the vein to collapse and shrink.
- Varithena®: Varithena is the only foam treatment that's been approved by the FDA to treat large leg veins. Once injected into the vein, the foam irritates the vein lining, causing it to close. After treatment, the body redirects blood to neighboring veins so circulation is improved and varicose vein symptoms are resolved.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant, or solvent, into the damaged veins, causing them to collapse. This outpatient procedure is typically performed in less than an hour.
These are just a few of the many varicose vein treatment options available. Don’t put your health on hold any longer — get in touch with Premier Heart & Vein Care today to set up an appointment with a vein specialist.