Varicose veins are commonly viewed as a cosmetic issue. People suffering from venous disorder go to great lengths to cover their damaged veins, using makeup to cover visible veins on their faces or wearing pants every day to hide varicose veins on their legs. While varicose veins in many cases are just a cosmetic concern, they can also cause more severe symptoms and conditions that can affect your health and quality of life. The following health issues can appear if varicose veins go untreated:
Restless Leg Syndrome
Varicose veins have been found to be associated with restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome is a condition where an individual feels a painful or itching sensation in his legs that can only be relieved by moving his legs. Often, restless leg syndrome symptoms appear at night, affecting an individual’s normal sleep patterns. Because of this, restless leg syndrome is commonly considered a sleep disorder.
Varicose veins are caused by damaged valves in your circulatory system. The blood in your circulatory system leaves your heart, flows down to your feet, and then must make it from your feet back to your heart. It is a long path, and because of the length of the path, valves in the legs commonly fail and cause visible varicose veins due to blood pooling in a specific vein with a damaged valve. When the valves in your veins fail, less blood is able to pass through your circulatory system. This can cause sluggishness in your legs, reduce your overall energy, and make you feel tired throughout the day.
Also commonly referred to as stasis dermatitis, venous eczema is a skin condition caused by varicose veins and other venous disorders. At the beginning stages of the appearance of venous eczema, skin will look transparent and may itch. In more severe cases, skin can turn dark and become rigid. If left untreated, these skin changes can become permanent. In the most severe cases, venous eczema can cause external sores that can crack, bleed, and scar.
Varicose veins that become swollen and painful may be a sign of deep vein thrombosis—a blot clot in the swollen vein. Blood clots can be life threatening if they break free and travel to the heart or brain, so it’s important to visit a doctor as soon as possible if your varicose veins become symptomatic.
Varicose Veins Treatment
To avoid the potential health conditions that can be caused by varicose veins, it’s best to have them treated before symptoms of other health issues appear. Varicose vein treatments have advanced beyond vein stripping in recent years and no longer require surgery. Newer treatments such as sclerotherapy and laser treatment are performed in the doctor’s office, and recovery is almost immediate. Many people go back to work the same day the treatment is performed.
To determine if your varicose veins have the potential of become symptomatic or to discover the types of vein treatments available, use our doctor finder tool to find a vein doctor in your area.