At Sky Vein and Aesthetics, we provide many cosmetic services, because looking great and being in great health go hand-in-hand. Dr. Danny Harrison is a highly trained physician, certified by the American Board of Surgery, can help you with these problems. We understand you may not like the appearance of varicose or spider veins, but want to make sure you understand the medical risks they may represent.
How veins work
You probably already know that arteries and veins provide the pathway for oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to move to and from your heart and throughout your body. As your heart pumps, it forces the blood through your arteries. To return to your heart, your blood moves through your veins.
As your blood moves up your legs or up from any part of your body, it has to move against gravity. Your veins have valves throughout that keep the blood moving in the right direction. If you have varicose veins, the valves in your veins are weak, or they may be damaged, which allows the blood to leak around them. The blood pools, most often in the legs.
The pooling increases the pressure against the walls of your veins, making them bulge and distort. Veins near the surface of your skin appear thick and ropey — the characteristic appearance of varicose veins.
A symptom of a problem?
We have yet to meet someone with varicose veins who likes the way they look, but they may be a health issue as much as a cosmetic one. It could be a sign that your veins aren’t working like they should. A few factors raise your risk of developing varicose veins, such as being older, overweight, sedentary, or having a family history of venous disease. People who have jobs that require standing or sitting are also at a great risk of varicose veins.
Chronic venous insufficiency can cause varicose veins. This condition is the result of malfunctioning veins that don’t allow the blood to flow properly. Your blood pools in the veins deep in your legs. You can have chronic venous insufficiency without visible varicose veins.
In addition to varicose veins, signs of chronic insufficiency include:
- Leg cramping, especially in your calves
- Changes to your skin
- Ulcers on legs
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
Another condition of which you should be aware is superficial thrombophlebitis, which is vein inflammation. If you have a blood clot that reduces blood flow in your veins, you’re at risk of this condition.
Warning signs of superficial thrombophlebitis often include:
- Hardening of a vein
- Skin irritation
- Skin discoloration
- Pain in one or both legs
If you have any of these symptoms, you should be assessed by a doctor. Superficial thrombophlebitis raises your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, which can be life-threatening.
Deep vein thrombosis
A blood clot in a vein that prevents your blood from passing is called deep vein thrombosis. It’s dangerous because the clot can break free and travel to your lungs.
When this happens, it can cause a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a clot blocks one or more arteries in your lungs. You could have lung damage or even die from a pulmonary embolism.
Treating varicose veins
Most of the time, varicose veins don’t present a life-threatening problem, but there is a chance they could be a sign of something serious. Whether you’re concerned about your health or you simply don’t like the way your varicose veins look, we can help.
Schedule an appointment at Sky Vein and Aesthetics today for an assessment. We can answer your questions and suggest appropriate treatments for your situation.