Rapid technological advancements and the growing importance of careers have significantly transformed people’s lifestyles. Additionally, the global pandemic has brought us closer to a sedentary way of life. Today, we witness a rising trend among youngsters and millennials who have embraced remote work as a permanent practice, allowing them to work comfortably from home. These changes in work dynamics and increased reliance on technology have shaped a new era of living, where our daily routines and habits have undergone significant shifts.
The lack of exercise and a significant reduction in overall physical activity has contributed to a heightened vulnerability to various health issues. Among these medical concerns, venous disorders such as varicose veins are a good example.
Varicose veins signs and symptoms are not merely cosmetic. This kind of venous insufficiency can progress over time and result in even more severe health issues. If you have a 9-to-5 job that requires standing or sitting for a prolonged period, you must become well-versed in the signs and symptoms of varicose veins.
Understanding varicose veins is crucial for timely intervention and appropriate management. Let’s talk about what we mean by “varicose veins” before we dive into the factors that bring about this condition and the signs and symptoms of varicose veins in feet.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Veins that appear enlarged and twisted are called varicose veins, and they often appear just under the skin’s surface. Typically, varicose veins will appear a shade between blue and purple. Varicose veins, while annoying, are not a life-threatening condition. However, if appropriate steps are not taken to manage this condition, it can progress over time and lead to severe varicose veins, DVT and even venous ulcers.
Some people may feel self-conscious about baring their legs publicly because of unsightly veins. As a result, they avoid activities like swimming and wearing shorts. Therefore, it can be a cosmetic concern for some. In addition, varicose veins, most common in the legs because of their distance from the heart, are more prevalent in women than men.
Women are the most vulnerable because a woman’s body goes through significant changes during pregnancy or puberty. For example, increased blood volume during pregnancy can lead to enlarged veins, and the increasing weight of the growing baby puts pressure on the pelvis, which alters the blood flow.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Weak or damaged venous valves are the primary cause of varicose veins. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body, while veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Veins in the legs contain valves, like one-way flaps, that constantly open and close to stop blood from flowing back as it travels up the legs against the force of gravity.
If the valves in the legs’ veins become weak and prevent blood from flowing normally, blood pools in the lower legs. This causes varicose veins. This is the primary reason varicose veins early symptoms are seen in the feet and legs.
Some of the possible causes of varicose veins are:
- Enduring extended periods of sitting or standing
- Age over 50 years when skin loses elasticity
- A family genetic history of varicose veins
- Any other medical conditions
- Chain Smoking
- Changes in hormone levels
- Tight clothing
What Are The Symptoms Of Varicose Veins?
Now that you know what varicose veins are and their causes, you must learn about the symptoms that put you at risk for developing them so you can take preventative measures. Some common varicose veins symptoms might include the following, but they may not be the same for all.
1. Bulging or enlarged veins: Varicose veins typically appear as swollen, twisted, or bulging veins that are visible beneath the skin, most commonly in the legs.
2. Discoloration: The affected veins may take on a bluish or dark purple, contrasting with the surrounding skin tone.
3. Pain and discomfort: Many individuals experience pain, aching, or throbbing sensations in the affected areas, particularly after long periods of standing or sitting.
4. Leg heaviness and fatigue: Varicose veins can cause a feeling of heaviness, tiredness, or fatigue in the legs, making daily activities more challenging.
5. Itching and irritation: Some people may experience itching or a sense of anger around the affected veins.
6. Swelling: Swelling, particularly in the lower legs and ankles, can occur due to the impaired blood flow caused by varicose veins.
7. Muscle cramps: Cramping or muscle spasms, especially at night, may be associated with varicose veins.
How To Treat Varicose Veins?
Treating varicose veins in the legs at the first sign of enlarged or visible veins is essential. However, this condition will progress and become more severe and complicated. There are many treatment options available for varicose veins:
1. Lifestyle Changes: Certain lifestyle adjustments can help manage varicose veins. Regular walking or cycling can improve blood circulation and strengthen leg muscles. Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing, and elevate your legs whenever possible to alleviate pressure on the veins.
Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tight clothing restricting blood flow, and practising good skin care can help manage varicose veins and prevent further complications.
2. Sclerotherapy: This procedure involves injecting a solution directly into the affected veins, causing them to shrink and eventually fade away. Sclerotherapy is commonly used for smaller varicose veins and spider veins.
3. Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT): EVLT utilizes laser energy to close off and seal the affected veins. This minimally invasive procedure is effective for more prominent varicose veins and is usually performed, outpatient.
4. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): RFA involves using radiofrequency energy to heat and seal the damaged veins. Similar to EVLT, it is a minimally invasive procedure.
5. Surgical Interventions: Surgical procedures like vein stripping or ligation may be recommended in more severe cases. These procedures involve removing or tying off the affected veins.
6. Compression Stockings: These specially designed stockings provide graduated compression, helping to improve blood flow. Wearing compression stockings is a non-invasive method to manage varicose veins and prevent the condition’s progression.
Compression stockings are a great way to support the veins and are also recommended by doctors as the first line of treatment for any venous condition. Doctors even prescribe compression stockings after you have undergone a varicose veins procedure.
It’s essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a vascular specialist to determine the most suitable treatment options based on the severity of your varicose veins and your overall health. They can provide personalized advice and guide you through the treatment process.
Varicose veins are a prevalent condition affecting millions of individuals in today’s lifestyle. Unfortunately, there remains a significant lack of awareness surrounding this issue. This informative guide aims to shed light on the symptoms of varicose veins, providing valuable insights for those seeking to comprehend their condition better.
When left untreated, varicose veins can disrupt blood flow, potentially resulting in various health complications. This raises the risk of developing a potentially life-threatening condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Additionally, untreated varicose veins carry the risk of rupture, further emphasizing the importance of timely intervention and appropriate treatment. By understanding the symptoms and recognizing the need for prompt care, individuals can take proactive steps towards managing varicose veins effectively.