Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
We frequently field questions about varicose veins, and most of them boil down to one stressful thought: Are they dangerous? The short answer is “sometimes,” so while that may not be satisfactory to hear, this post will lay out everything you need to know about this common, preventable and manageable condition.
The first thing you should know is that varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins that typically take on a deep blue appearance under the skin. Any vein can become varicose, but they occur most commonly in the legs because that’s where blood needs to flow against gravity to reach the heart. For some people, varicose veins are nothing more than a cosmetic concern, as their appearance isn’t ideal. However, most people with varicose veins experience discomfort and in rare cases they can lead to more serious conditions like bleeding, ulcers and blood clots.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a dangerous varicose vein is essential, and thankfully easy to monitor. Varicose veins are quite visible, so once you notice one on your body, pay attention to how the area looks and feels. Are they achy or heavy? Do the muscles around it burn, throb or cramp? Do the symptoms get worse as you stand for long periods of time? Is the skin around it discolored? If that’s the case, you should visit your doctor for a thorough examination and course of action.
Now, like we said earlier, varicose veins are common and typically of no immediate concern. Moreover, while there’s no way to guarantee prevention, there are many easy ways to reduce your risk for a dangerous case. The first is simple exercise. Even a 30 minute daily walk dramatically improves the circulation in your legs. Same goes for avoiding long periods on and off your feet. Keeping your legs above your heart several times a day, wearing compression socks, and avoiding nicotine are also specific actions that will help you avoid varicose veins.
Finally, not everyone is at equal risk of varicose veins. Unfortunately, women are more likely to develop them, especially in pregnancy. The same goes for the elderly and those experiencing obesity. If you fall into one of these categories, it’s important to understand the risks and monitor your skin. It’s nothing to stress over, just a good reason to stay active, pay attention to your body, and keep a good relationship with your doctor.
If your varicose veins are causing you discomfort or you feel like they may be the sign of an underlying condition, please call 866-695-8346 to schedule an appointment at any of our seven convenient offices in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.