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Are Varicose Veins a Health Risk?

Anyone can get varicose veins, a condition that affects as many as 35% of Americans, but the problem tends to favor women who have delivered several children, those with high body mass indices, people with a family history of the condition, or older Americans. Your risk factor rises if you belong to more than one of these groups.

Any vein can become varicosed, but it’s usually those in the legs that you notice first. In many cases, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue that have no symptoms and cause no other health issues; but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, these gnarled and bulging veins can be a clue to more serious health issues. Here’s what you should know about varicose veins.

The role of veins in your body

Of the blood vessels of your body, arteries deliver fresh, oxygenated blood to cells while veins return used blood to the heart and lungs. Your circulatory system uses a combination of blood pressure and valves to create a one-way cycle of blood flow.

Veins use valves that permit blood to flow to the heart, but close to prevent backflow. It’s when these valves start to fail that a vein becomes varicosed. Blood begins to pool, causing veins to swell and twist. When these veins are close to the surface of your skin, their distortion and color can show through.

Varicose veins in your legs

Your legs are most vulnerable since it’s here that the veins work hardest against gravity. If you spend lots of time sitting or standing in one position, it may add additional pressure to your legs that further aggravates varicosity.

Varicose veins may have few symptoms beyond their appearance. When they do cause other issues, you may experience aches, itchiness, or a heavy feeling in your legs. You could experience cramps and swelling that might throb or give a burning sensation.

Complications of varicose veins

Minor bleeding is one complication you could experience when a vein close to the surface of the skin bursts. Ulcers are more serious since these can take longer to heal when your circulation is impaired.

Persistent leg pain or unusual swelling may indicate that blood clots are forming in your calf or thigh, a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This may be accompanied by redness and warmth, common symptoms of other injuries or illnesses, so it may be tempting to overlook the issue.

If a blood clot in your legs breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.

Dr. Madaiah Revana at Humble Cardiology Associates is an experienced interventional cardiologist who can assess your varicose vein condition and its potential risks. There are several treatment options to eliminate varicose veins, and so it’s possible to treat these, even if you haven’t developed symptoms that may suggest more serious complications.

Contact either location of Humble Cardiology Associates by phone or through the online appointment request tool to arrange your personal consultation. Don’t wait until you face a serious health risk. Call today. 

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