Many people will notice veins which appear to be blue in color and twisted most often in their legs and ankles. These are called varicose veins, and although typically there is no real cause for concern, it is always best to get regular check ups and let your physician know of any changes in your body or its appearance. This is because in some cases varicose veins may be an indication of deep vein thrombosis, a blockage in deeper veins, which does need to be checked out and treated.
When the veins that are responsible for keeping the blood flowing up towards the heart have become weakened and the valves have become damaged, varicose veins are formed. This is caused by venous insufficiency, which is when blood builds up inside the veins, increasing pressure causing veins to become enlarged, twisted up, and very weak. Superficial thrombophlebitis is one cause of varicose veins, in which a small vein near the surface of the skin becomes inflamed and develops a blood clot. Other factors in developing varicose veins are family history, age, and pressure on the legs. For instance, someone who is pregnant or overweight may induce more pressure on the veins in the legs. Also, someone who stands for many hours a day may have a greater risk of developing varicose veins.
Most people will not exhibit any symptoms from varicose veins aside from the appearance of the blue colored veins. However, in some cases symptoms may include achy, painful, tired legs which may also feel unusually heavy. These symptoms may also become heightened after long periods of standing or even sitting. Other symptoms to look for are inflammation, thinning, or flaking of the skin, open sores, or bleeding caused by very minor injuries as well as an appearance of the skin turning a brownish color. If the veins appear to be red and are warm and tender, you should call your doctor immediately as this may be a sign of phlebitis. You should also call your doctor if you have cut one of the varicose veins and attempt to control the bleeding in order to prevent further issues.
The most common treatment of varicose veins is self-treatment. Some ways of relieving symptoms and preventing more damage are exercising as much as possible and keeping legs elevated while resting. Also, some people may want to wear compression stockings which can be found at nearly all major pharmacies. Another form of treatment typically used for cosmetic reasons is Sclerotherapy in which a drug called scleroscant is injected into the veins causing them to close. Endovenous laser or radiofrequency treatments are also available in which heat is used to close the varicose veins. In some cases in which symptoms persist, surgery may also be used.