Varicose Veins: Causes and Treatment
The disease behind varicose veins causes dilated, or enlarged, veins that bulge on the surface. They often look like twisted ropes and have either a purple or blue coloration. Varicose veins are more dilated than spider veins or reticular veins.
Some people may assume that varicose vein treatment is cosmetic, but varicose veins can be associated with more serious venous disease and may require more comprehensive treatment.
How Can I Tell if I Need Varicose Vein Treatment?
There are three different dilated vein conditions: varicose veins, reticular veins, and spider veins.
- Varicose veins are often twisted and bulge on the surface of the skin. These dilated veins are equal to or greater than three millimeters in diameter.
- Reticular veins measure between one millimeter and three millimeters in diameter. These bluish veins are not to be mistaken for the normal bluish veins that can be seen in people with thin, transparent skin.
- Spider veins are less than one millimeter in diameter. These veins form a pattern that typically resembles a spider web. On thighs and knees, spider veins may appear as thin, separate lines or look like the branches of a tree.
With varicose veins, causes can differ from patient to patient and may actually be the result of one or more conditions hidden beneath the surface in the larger veins. There are a variety of varicose vein treatment options, based on the severity of the underlying venous disease.Request an Appointment
VARICOSE VEINS: CAUSES
Varicose veins and other dilated vein conditions are the most common feature of venous disease and are an indication of venous reflux.
Venous reflux associated with varicose veins is most likely caused by abnormalities in the vein wall, although it can also be attributed to a condition called valvular incompetence, in which the tiny valves inside veins that control the flow of blood become damaged and blood is allowed to flow backwards and pool. Varicose veins are probably caused by an abnormality in the vein wall in conjunction with valvular incompetence.
With varicose veins, causes can be associated with several factors:
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins may cause skin irritation, such as itching or burning, swelling of the legs, pain and aching, fatigue, heavy or restless legs, and leg cramps. These signs and symptoms usually indicate that there may be another underlying disorder in the larger veins of the legs.
In these more serious cases, varicose vein treatment may be considered as part of a more comprehensive therapy involving veins that may not be visible.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
There are several varicose vein treatment options, depending on the size of the veins. An initial diagnostic ultrasound will determine the severity of venous disease, after which the doctor will discuss appropriate treatment options.
The symptoms of mild venous disease can sometimes be made less severe with conservative therapy measures including compression stockings, leg elevation, exercise and over-the-counter medications.Request an Appointment