Ever seen red and blue spider web-like things on your legs and wondered what they are? What do they do other than spoil the beauty of your legs? Most of us wouldn’t even worry about them had they not been so “visible” and “ugly”. But are they worrisome?
There are basically two names depending on the look and feel of those red and blue lines. There are varicose veins that are bulging and more twisted to the extent that you can see them and quickly feel them under your skin. A smaller version of the varicose veins is what we know as spider veins. Spider veins appear in a webbed pattern and consist of both red and blue lines. The main difference between the two other than the physical look and feel is that varicose veins can cause more severe problems in the future.
About 30% of the world population tends to suffer from varicose veins, and most of the time, they can be just cosmetic issues, like in the case of spider veins. So how do you know whether the varicose veins that you suffer from are severe or not? The first and primary sign to keep in mind is whether your varicose veins are painful. If they are painful, then they should be looked into immediately.
How do varicose veins get formed?
To understand what are the hidden dangers of varicose veins, it is firstly important to understand what causes the formation of varicose veins. They are an indication of a problem in the circulatory system. Two reasons lead to the appearance of varicose veins.
- The veins in our body have one-way valves to prevent the backflow of the blood. When these valves become leaky and blood pools in the veins, they result in varicose veins.
- The other reason is that sometimes the vein walls are weakened over a while and cannot handle the pressure of the increased amount of blood flow.
These further result in the enlargement and the twisting of veins, which happens to the extent that it grows into varicose veins.
Dangers of Varicose veins
If left untreated, you can get serious health conditions because of varicose veins primarily related to the circulatory system. Some of the conditions have been discussed below.
Deep Vein Thrombosis –
If blood clots are being formed in the varicose veins, there is a probability that blood clots will develop in the deeper veins. This leads to a condition called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a severe medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. It can lead to warm, swollen, red, and painful legs.
The most crucial risk is that if the blood clot breaks and travels to the heart or the lungs, it can cause a blockage in a major artery which can even result in death. This condition is known as pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism can be identified by chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough, which brings pinkish fluid.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Another condition that can arise due to varicose veins is known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is when the blood pools in the legs and makes it difficult for the blood circulation to move from the legs to the heart. This restriction in circulation can lead to the accumulation of fluid and the condition known as edema.
People suffering from CVI or edema are known to experience cramps and pains, and weakness in the legs. With time, it can affect your mobility and further cause a reduction in the quality of life.
Phlebitis or Thrombophlebitis
Due to varicose veins, the veins get inflamed, and you will often find people complaining about the area hardening or getting painful to touch. This condition can occur both in the veins on the surface and even deeper veins, resulting in a condition known as Phlebitis or Thrombophlebitis, when it is on the deeper veins.
Phlebitis or Thrombophlebitis can further lead to narrowing of the arteries and further increase the chances of blood clots.
Other than these, there are various skin conditions, like swelling, skin ulcers, and skin infections, which are found to occur due to varicose veins.
There are various reasons and factors for the development of varicose veins. In the earlier stages, like spider veins, this might not seem so severe. However, if a change of lifestyle is not adopted, there is a chance that it might develop into something much more powerful. The treatment of varicose veins is not wholly possible; however, some medicines, like laser treatment, can help to an extent.
Like it always said, precaution is better than cure. Hence it’s better to take specific steps for the prevention of varicose veins, like
- Have some exercise regime
- Manage your weight
- Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods.
- Reduce salt intake
- Avoid wearing high heels or tight-fitting clothes.
- Elevate your legs above heart level.
However, if you find your condition getting worse, ensure that you consult a doctor.