Pain, tiredness and swelling in the legs can sometimes be a symptom of a condition known as varicose veins. Varicose veins are tangled and enlarged veins in the legs which have a variety of causes. A physician can examine your legs and determine whether not this condition is the cause of your pain and discomfort. While varicose veins themselves are generally non-serious, they can lead to other, more serious complications.
Who is at Risk for Varicose Veins?
While anyone can develop varicose veins, overweight and pregnant individuals are at a higher risk. Varicose veins typically occur more commonly in women than in men. Other risk factors include your age, family history, leg injury and abdominal straining. A popular conception claims that crossing of the legs or ankles causes the development of varicose veins; however this is disputed and requires further study.
What is Pain from Varicose Veins Like?
Pain from varicose veins typically occurs when you stand or sit in one position for long periods of time. The pain can manifest in several ways, including: swelling, itching, aching and a sensation of heaviness in your legs. If you suffer from varicose veins you may also notice a cramping in your leg when making sudden movements. More serious sufferers of varicose veins may even find themselves unable to walk or stand very for long.
How are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?
There are several ways a physician can diagnose you with varicose veins. The initial examination will include a physical assessment of your legs. Varicose veins have a raised, twisted appearance underneath the skin and are generally easy to see. Your physician will also ask you to describe the pain you’ve experienced and any other symptoms. A more extensive diagnosis can include the use of either an ultrasound or angiogram to eliminate any other possible causes of your pain.
Are Varicose Veins Serious?
Generally, varicose veins themselves are not a serious condition. However, they are often a sign of more serious conditions which require immediate medical attention. The most serious of which is deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a possibly fatal condition in which blood clots form in the leg veins. If these clots break free from the vein they enter the lungs through the bloodstream and cause pulmonary embolisms which are oftentimes fatal.
How are Varicose Veins Treated?
A variety of treatments exist for varicose veins ranging from simple elevation of the legs to surgical options to repair the damaged veins. In addition to elevating the leg, pain relief can be found with the simple use of anti-inflammatory medications or gels. Preventative care includes: weight loss, compression clothing to increase circulation and regular exercise. If pain from your varicose veins is still unmanageable, surgical options exist for more extreme cases.
As with all medical conditions, it is wise to first consult your physician before beginning any course of treatment on your own. Self-diagnosis and medication of varicose veins can lead to further complications with serious consequences. While it may be likely that varicose veins are the cause of your leg pain, only a trained medical professional can determine that and rule out any other possible causes.
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- Varicose Veins: minimally invasive solutions (findmedicalsolutions.com)
- New York Cardiovascular Associates Uses Social Media to Promote Education of Varicose Veins and their Association with Aging and How to Effectively Treat Them (prweb.com)
- Varicose veins to get laser solution (bbc.co.uk)
- Treating Varicose Veins (wnep.com)
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends heat ablation therapy for patients with varicose veins, UK (medicalnewstoday.com)
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