Varicose veins are a sign of venous insufficiency disease. This condition occurs when the veins become damaged and abnormally shaped vessels that usually develop in the legs and lower portion of the body. Many people view them more of a cosmetic issue than physical concern. For many others, living with varicose veins is more unpleasant and, in some cases, difficult to manage without self-care and special considerations. Alliance Vascular Institute offers safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins that alleviate the symptoms and cosmetic issues they present.
How do Varicose Veins Develop?
Veins varicose develop when there too much pressure builds up in veins or blood vessels that impedes proper blood flow. This is a common side effect of injuries and hormonal changes. This vein disease is a result of the blood pressure inside of the veins blood flow becomes compromised. The pressure buildup damages the structure of the veins, causing them to become weaker, collapse, lose their rigid shape and swell.
As the veins become weaker, blood pools inside and become stagnant, forcing the veins to bulge. Normally, this process gradually occurs as a side effect of aging or genetics. But certain health conditions and lifestyle habits, such as pregnancy or vascular conditions or standing in place for long periods, respectively. Also, varicosities can occur in veins located anywhere in the body, though the most common areas are in the legs and ankles. Varicose veins development typically takes place in stages. By the time many people realize they have varicose veins, they’ve already progressed into one of the later stages of development.
Stage 1: Vein Swelling
The first phase doesn’t show up physically because the changes impact the valves inside of the legs. Before the signs of veins swelling and stretching appear on the skin, they cause unpleasant sensations. Symptoms include pain or tenderness from cramps, burning, swelling, itching and heavy or fatigued legs, ankles, or restless legs. These sensations may increase in frequency until the discomfort is more than a mere annoyance or no longer believed to have an external cause.
Stage 2: Crawling or Spider-Like Veins
The presence of spider or crawly-like veins appears as blue or purple lines on the skin. They are usually nothing to worry about. But some people at stage 2 of varicose veins development experience burning, pain or aching from the lines.
Stage 3: Enlarged or Swollen Veins (Varicosities)
As the veins collapse and become engorged with stagnant blood, they take on a darker purple, red, or blue color, and swell and cause skin discoloration, itching, pain, and heaviness. Varicose veins can become so severe that they impact certain activities when touched, such as wearing fabrics, shaving, or applying skin cream or lotion. As the condition progresses, varicose veins may burst and bleed or cause ulcers and slow-healing sores to form. At this stage, sensations of heaviness and tenderness and pain are worse by the end of the day.
Stage 4: Edema and Leg Fatigue
Severe vein varicosities that leak or burst can cause blood to pool inside of the affected body part, usually the legs. Most people experience significant leg or ankle swelling or heavy sensations that may include pain in their ankles or legs during the evening or after prolonged periods of standing.
Stage 5: Ankles Changes
An increase in the prominent appearance of small crawling or spidery veins on the ankles that swell, hurt, itch, or burn. These symptoms are usually more severe after long periods of standing or certain activities.
Stage 6: Skin Changes
Damaged veins can cause unexpected changes to the texture and color of the skin. As the disease progresses, the skin becomes darker and harder and more sensitive to pain.
Stage 7: Ulcers on the Legs or Ankles
Advanced stages of vein disease or varicose veins development are when serious, painful and slow-healing wounds or ulcers on the legs and ankles form. Some ulcers may heal go away with minimal care, but chronic ulcer development often occurs instead. The risk of life-threatening blood clots developing is much higher than normal and medical care is necessary to improve the impact of the disease on overall health and quality of life.
Keep in mind that ulcers can form during any of the stages of varicose veins or vein disease. Advanced ulcers may weep or ooze fluid or pus. Infections can set in and cause foul-smelling or yellowish to greenish pus that may be extremely painful and unpleasant to touch or even look at and can lead to cellulitis or other life-threatening diseases.
By the time this advanced stage of varicose veins development, medical attention is necessary for a favorable outcome. Our patients come to us for varicose veins treatment because they’re ready for relief and to get rid of their unappealing vein lines. Anyone can develop varicose veins. Some people are more prone to them than others. People with certain risk, hereditary, and lifestyle factors develop them more than children or adults. Pregnancy, obesity, and age are the primary risk concerns for varicose veins complications, though anyone can benefit from having them treated.
Treatment for All Stages of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins look unpleasant, but they don’t always stay that way. Treatment is necessary to prevent issues that can diminish your quality of life. If you notice discolored or bulging veins in your legs or ankles, don’t hesitate to call Alliance Vascular Institute at (661) 480-5956 to discuss minimally invasive varicose veins treatment options.