Unsightly veins, cramping, throbbing or weakness in the legs? These could all be signs of varicose veins. In some cases, your legs may look great, but how do they feel? If you have visible varicose veins or any of the symptoms mentioned, you may have venous insufficiency and not know it.
You may be tempted to cover up with jeans or long dresses all year round or continue to ignore these symptoms, but you don’t have to. At New York Weight Loss and Surgery and New Jersey Weight Loss and Surgery, we can help get rid of painful, unsightly varicose veins.
Varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins most often occurring in the legs. Veins are blood vessels that carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. The heart sends this blood to the lungs for an infusion of oxygen. The lungs send it back to the heart, where it is pumped back out to feed the rest of the body.
Veins have valves to direct the flow of blood toward the heart. These valves help your veins and blood fight gravity to get from the tips of your toes all the way back to the upper portion of the body. When these valves become damaged, blood can pool in the veins, causing them to swell and leading to varicose veins or spider veins (caused by the same valve problems, but usually smaller and differently colored).
Varicose veins can appear as dark blue or purple, enlarged, twisted, cord-like blood vessels most often occurring in the legs or may be invisible to the naked eye. You may have no symptoms aside from their unsightly appearance, or they may cause:
Venous insufficiency very common; almost one in four people have it. While varicose veins are caused by faulty venous valves, a number of factors increase the risk of developing venous insufficiency.
Age: Valves normally become weaker as people age, due to normal wear-and-tear. About 22 million Americans between the ages of 40 and 80 have varicose veins. Menopause and hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause both increase the risk of varicose veins.
Family history: There seems to be a genetic component to developing varicose veins, as approximately half of the people who have them have a family history of venous insufficiency.
Gender: Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men.
Overweight or obesity: Having an unhealthy body mass index—being overweight or obese—may increase pressure inside leg veins, which can lead to venous insufficiency. Learn more about your weight loss procedure options at New York Weight Loss and Surgery and New Jersey Weight Loss and Surgery.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause varicose veins due to increased venous pressure in the legs.
Sedentary lifestyle: Sitting still for a long time can make the veins work harder, which may hasten the degradation of venous valves.
Trauma: Sometimes direct injury to the legs can damage valves in the veins, leading to venous insufficiency.
If you have venous insufficiency, the first step is getting a diagnosis. At New York Weight Loss and Surgery and New Jersey Weight Loss and Surgery, we use painless, noninvasive ultrasound to diagnose varicose veins.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, there are a number of surgical and nonsurgical treatments for varicose veins. Most treatment plans start with conservative, nonoperative care, which can include:
More severe cases may require surgery, which can take various forms such as:
You don’t have to live with venous insufficiency anymore. At New York Weight Loss and Surgery and New Jersey Weight Loss and Surgery, we offer a number of treatments to fix varicose veins. Request an appointment to learn more about your options.