Yes, of course, varicose veins can be unsightly and cause us to cover our legs even in warmer weather. We may try to hide them, but they are still there and can be affecting our vascular health. Here are a few reasons why varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue.
Not Just Your Grandmother’s Affliction
Many think those ugly blue veins known as varicose veins only affect much older women, but they are mistaken. In fact, both young men and women can have varicose veins. There are several causes and risk factors for developing this condition, including:
- Having a family history of varicose veins.
- Someone in an occupation where they must be on their feet for long periods of time are more likely to develop varicose veins.
- Being overweight can lead to varicose veins. The pressure of carrying excess weight over long periods of time can cause your blood vessels to become weakened. Instead of sending blood to the heart in an efficient way, those weakened veins allow blood to pool and bulge near the skin.
- When women are pregnant they can develop varicose veins due to the added pressure and weight being put on their body.
Varicose Veins and the Danger of Blood Clots
If you cover those unattractive blue veins on your legs, or if you just don’t dwell on them, you still should be aware of the possible risks from them. Not only can varicose veins make your legs feel heavy and achy, but they also put that added pressure on the vessels that are responsible for supplying blood throughout the body. If that system malfunctions, blood can back up, stagnate, and pool. When that occurs, ankles and feet can swell, and clots can develop.
Poor circulation can lead to numerous issues including ulcers and sores on the legs, bacterial infections, and even hemorrhage. The most serious complication from varicose veins are blood clots that can lead to a pulmonary embolism (PE). In this case, a blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs where it can block an artery, leading to a life-threatening situation.
Reducing the incidence of blood clots and improving your vascular system is the best way to safeguard against PE and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
When to See Advanced Vascular Associates
Anyone with swollen ankles or bulging varicose veins should be evaluated by a professional as soon as possible. If you wish to have them removed, there are several minimally invasive procedures that can eliminate varicose veins.
In addition, there are some practical ways to reduce your symptoms and avoid additional varicose veins:
- Wear knee high compression socks or stockings. Advanced Vascular Associates can specially order them for you, or you may be able to find some online or over-the-counter.
- Be especially mindful during air travel to move around in the cabin when possible, and flex your calves and ankles when seated to increase circulation.
- Stay active.
- Elevate your legs.
- Maintain a healthy weight, and try to eat a diet that is both high in fiber and low in salt.
Contact Advanced Vascular Associates at (973) 540-9700 for an evaluation if you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins.