Varicose veins are caused by poor circulation in the legs, typically as a result of damage to the valves in the veins. Veins along the inside of the leg and the back of the calf are most commonly affected. Varicose veins can be associated with symptoms of pain, aches, heaviness, restless legs, or burning and itching of the skin.
While varicose veins have a wide spectrum of appearance, they have patterns of distribution that will be familiar to Dr. Franciosa and Dr. Ahmad. Varicose veins may be large, firm, blue and tender. Others may be less readily palpable and may have a more greenish appearance when located deeper within the skin.
Telangiectasia, more commonly referred to as “spider veins” may be very fine and range in color from red to blue and even grey.
What causes my varicose veins?
Varicose veins and other vein disorders are common within families. Epidemiologic studies show that patients have a higher likelihood of developing varicose veins if their fathers had varicose veins. If only one parent has varicose veins, women are more likely than men to develop vein problems. The highest risk of varicose vein formation is in the patient with both parents affected by the disease.
Obesity, pregnancy and occupations requiring prolonged standing will increase the pressure presented to the venous system. Additionally, the use of high heeled footwear decreases calf muscle flexion which otherwise serves as an effective pump for emptying the leg of venous blood.
Here are just a few self-treatment options for varicose veins:
- Try to keep your weight off your feet as much as possible.
- Whenever possible, sit with your legs elevated. This promotes the blood flow back up your leg.
- Wear support hose without added “control” around the abdomen or waist. Prescription hosiery is most effective.
Self treatment may help reduce the pain and prevent varicose veins from worsening. However, Dr. Franciosa and Dr. Ahmad offer in-office treatment options that can lessen pain and diminish the appearance of varicose veins. Contact Swift Vein Institute in Henderson and Reno to schedule an appointment.
What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)?
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a progressive medical condition that may worsen over time. As varicose veins progress to become CVI, other painful symptoms like leg swelling, skin damage and ulcers may occur. 4,5 There are a number of factors that contribute to varicose veins and CVI, including pregnancy and heredity. 4
Symptoms of other more serious medical problems
- If an area of one leg becomes red and tender, this can be a symptom of thrombophlebitis, or inflammation of a superficial vein. If our providers determine you have this condition, it may be treated with prescription anti-inflammatories or other medications. A sample of blood may be taken to determine if underlying conditions exist.
- If your calf is painful and swollen, this may be indicative of deep vein thrombosis, a condition that occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein in the leg. Individuals who take birth control pills, post menopausal hormone therapy or those who are immobilized by injury, are particularly in danger of developing this condition. This is a very serious condition and warrants evaluation by a medical professional without delay.
The Effect of Pregnancy
Varicose veins often appear during a first pregnancy and become more severe with subsequent pregnancies.
Here are a couple contributing factors.
- The enlarged uterus may compress the abdominal and pelvic veins know as the inferior vena cava and the common iliac veins, respectively.
- Even before the uterus begins to enlarge significantly, hormonal factors cause the veins to become more compliant. Together with the increased venous pressure that occurs later in pregnancy, these factors cause significant venous distension and exaggerate the factors that predispose the patient to vein dysfunction.
Dr. Franciosa and Dr. Ahmad, at Swift Vein Institute treat patients throughout Northern Nevada and Las Vegas for varicose veins, leg pain, achy legs, restless legs and chronic venous insufficiency. Swift Vein Institute includes offices in Reno, Carson City and Henderson, NV.