Varicose veins are so common that one out of four Americans suffers from them. Those enlarged, bulging, twisted veins tend to appear especially in the lower legs because they are farthest away from the heart and therefore get the least amount of benefit from the natural pumping action in the circulatory system. Sitting for extended periods of time also puts pressure on the veins in the legs.
These bulging veins are usually harmless, but they can cause pain in the leg. Plus, if they become too close to the skin’s surface, they can burst through the skin and cause an open sore called a skin ulcer.
The good news is that varicose veins can be medically treated and usually eliminated. Let’s talk about some key facts regarding varicose veins, and where you can go in the Tampa Bay area for outstanding vein treatment and circulatory care.
Causes of Varicose Veins
While the arteries bring fortified and oxygenated blood from the heart to the tissues and structures throughout the body, the veins take the blood back to the heart for replenishment. Thanks to the force of gravity, the work your veins have to do – especially in the legs – is much harder than the work of the arteries.
To help the blood in the veins flow in the proper direction toward the heart, your veins have tiny valves that prevent backflow. However, when any of these valves become weak or damaged in any way, then blood starts to pool in that area of the vein. This pooling of the blood is what causes varicose veins.
What Can Cause the Vein Valves to Be Damaged or Weakened?
Certain factors can lead to the development of varicose veins. These include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle (sitting for too long)
- Standing for long periods of time
- Hormonal changes
- Being obese
- Genetic predisposition to having varicose veins
Varicose Veins Differ from Spider Veins
Spider veins are much smaller versions of varicose veins, and they tend to appear flat under the skin. Both spider veins and varicose veins occur due to the pooling of blood in a vein.
Spider veins are usually red or purple, whereas varicose veins tend to be blue or dark purple. Spider veins can cause skin ulcers as varicose veins can, but they tend to heal quickly with spider veins because the skin wound is so tiny.
Varicose Veins Can Be Treated
Lifestyle approaches such as exercise, elevating the legs, and wearing compression stockings can help improve blood flow and prevent pooling. Medical treatments for varicose veins include:
- Laser treatment
- Vein ablation
Treating Varicose Veins in Palm Harbor, FL
If you are in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, or Largo, and you suffer from varicose veins or other circulation issues, get help from our board-certified and fellowship-trained vein specialist Dr. Edward Mackay. Dr. Mackay has been treating venous diseases, including varicose veins and spider veins, since 1993. He offers a variety of relatively quick in-office procedures that will deliver excellent results.
Don’t ignore your varicose veins – get the vascular care you need by calling us at (727) 781-5652 or by filling out our appointment request form. We look forward to helping you achieve clear, pain-free skin again!