Many people suffer from varicose veins. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates around 23% of all adults living in the U.S. have varicose veins.
For some, they are more of a nuisance than a medical problem. But how do you know when you should seek medical help? What varicose vein warning signs should you look for?
What Causes Varicose Vein Symptoms?
To understand the symptoms of varicose veins, it helps to understand what causes them. Varicose veins are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins for a prolonged period. They occur when the valves in your veins are weakened or damaged and don’t let blood flow back to your heart properly. This can cause blood to collect in your legs and pressure to build up resulting in swelling in the legs and feet. So what are the varicose vein warning signs to look for?
1. Swelling in the Lower Legs
If you experience an increase in swelling in your legs, this may be a sign of a serious problem. Swelling is caused by the retention of fluid in leg tissues, also known as peripheral edema.
2. Pain, Cramping, or Soreness Are Signs of a Problem
Pain may come in different forms. An achy or heavy feeling in the legs, burning, throbbing, or muscle cramping are all signs of advanced venous insufficiency. Pay even closer attention if these symptoms come on suddenly and are accompanied by swelling.
3. Discolored Skin Is Another Symptom
Another sign of worsening symptoms is if your skin becomes discolored. If your skin turns brown or red, this is a sign that there is damage to the venous wall. The damaged vein allows blood to pool in areas of the leg which causes discoloration of the skin.
4. Your Leg Feels Hot to the Touch
When damaged veins allow blood to pool within the legs, a burning sensation may occur. This is caused by fluid leaking into the surrounding tissue. You can also experience tingling, numbness, or itching along with the burning. The area will feel hot to the touch and become painful.
5. Ulcers Require Immediate Attention
If the condition gets worse, ulcers can form. Ulcers are the final stage of venous insufficiency. Your leg will be swollen, your skin brownish or reddish, and an open sore will develop. The tension from the veins prevents the swelling from receding. In order to treat the veins, you’ll have to first treat the swelling. If left untreated it can be extremely painful and the veins may burst.
Call a Doctor if You Have Any of These Varicose Vein Symptoms
The bottom line is, contact your doctor if you have pain in your leg that starts in your calf and feels like cramping or soreness, if you have red or discolored skin, or if your leg feels warm when you touch it. All of these are symptoms of advanced venous insufficiency and could be signs of deep vein thrombosis which can be fatal if blood clots break loose and travel to your lungs.
Pain Is Your Body Telling You to Seek Help
Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable. At the Vein Clinic of Greater Kansas City, we say if your varicose veins are bad enough that they are affecting your quality of life, you should come see us for an evaluation. We have fast, easy treatments that don’t require hospitalization or downtime. Stop living with the pain and come find out about all of your options.