What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins refer to enlarged and twisted blood vessels. Since these blood vessels are located just beneath the skin’s surface, varicose veins are often very visible and will appear as purple or blue bulges. In most cases, varicose veins develop in one’s legs, ankles, or feet, yet they can form in other parts of the body as well.1
Varicose veins are caused by the valves in blood veins becoming weak. Normally, these valves keep blood moving up the limb back toward the heart. However, when the valves are weak, either due to a genetic component or injury, this can cause blood to flow backward in the veins. The backflow will cause the veins to engorge with blood, resulting in the vein becoming enlarged and twisted. otherwise referred to as a varicose vein.
In general, varicose veins are not a cause for concern but rather a cosmetic issue. However, varicose veins can cause aching pain, itching, and discomfort. In some cases, varicose veins can eventually lead to more serious health problems, such as ulcers or blood clots.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can often be visually identified on one’s body. While varicose veins are not typically a serious health condition, it is important to recognize the symptoms so that you can monitor the condition and take action if your varicose veins begin to impact your quality of life or develop into a more serious issue. With that being said, some of the main symptoms of varicose veins include:2
- Bulging or twisted veins
- Veins that appear blue or purple
- An itchy sensation around your veins
- Heaviness in the feet or legs
- Skin discoloration near your veins
- Soreness, achiness, or pain in the legs
- Persistent leg cramps, especially in the evening