There's one thing we all know about varicose veins. Those bulging, dark twisty things don't look great when they show up on your legs (or anywhere else.) But here's what you may not know: varicose veins are actually your body's way of warning you that problems are brewing inside.
Varicose veins aren't bad for you on their own. But the factors that create them can be. You see, veins are elastic blood vessels. They have a job: to carry blood back to the heart after it’s reached your body's extremities.
Now, there are a series of valves in your veins. They open and close, allowing blood to flow up towards your heart. Valves are basically one-way gates. They open to let blood flow up, but close to keep it from going back down towards your feet. Basically, they help your body fight gravity. But what happens when those valves stop working well? Your blood can flow backward, letting blood pool in your feet. That kind of backward flow is called venous insufficiency (VI). It stretches your veins, so they bulge. And it can also lead to leg and ankle swelling (edema), pain, itching and other uncomfortable symptoms.
When VI leaves you with pooling blood, that blood is more likely to form clots. Clots that form in the walls of your superficial veins (also called phlebitis) can be quite painful, although not usually life threatening.
Also known as DVT, this is a condition that occurs when blood clots form in your body's deeper veins. Associated with poor circulation, it is considered a life threatening condition because, if a clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
When blood sits around in your veins, it doesn't just clot--it can start to leak out of your vessels as the walls become stretched beyond capacity. The leaked blood can deposit itself into the soft tissue of your legs, especially around your ankles where the skin is thin, holes may open up. Because your circulatory system is already compromised, less than optimal amounts of oxygen will reach that hole, making it more difficult for the skin to heal itself. That is why individuals with VI are more prone to open sores (ulcers.)
When VI persists without treatment veins may be stretched to the point where they burst. At that point, you will experience bleeding that, depending on the location of the vein, may be dangerous to your overall health.
Treating your varicose veins will restore your leg's healthy appearance. But it's about so much more than that. Our goal as Houston vein specialists is to resolve the underlying symptoms of varicose veins. Such as heavy legs, cramps, or itchy, burning skin. Because developing varicose veins is not just a normal part of aging. It's a sign of vein disease. So, by treating your varicose veins, we can help you look and feel better!
And here's some more good news: most of our vein treatments are virtually painless. Plus, many only require a local anesthetic, so you won't be staying in the hospital. And, since vein treatments protect your health, not just your looks, many insurance plans will help cover the cost of your procedure. So you don't have to worry about a large out-of-pocket responsibility.
Now that you understand the potential complications associated with spider veins, don't waste another minute. Schedule a diagnostic vein scan to determine the best treatment course to resolve your venous insufficiency. Remember, it's not just about how you look. It's about protecting your long-term health!
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