What are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are dense masses of large, ropy, blood vessels that bulge out of the skin’s surface. They usually appear on the legs, thighs, and lower extremities of the body, but they can also appear elsewhere on the body. The risk of varicose veins increases as you get older, and it’s particularly common amongst women, especially pregnant women, and those with a family history of vein problems.

Chronic venous insufficiency is the underlying root cause of varicose veins and most other vein problems. This is a medical condition wherein the collapse of vein valves leads to the accumulation of blood in leg veins, which eventually leads to vascular dilation and the formation of spider veins and varicose veins.

Spider Veins

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are dense clusters of blood vessels that appear on the skin’s surface. They are extremely thin veins that may be red, blood, or purple in color, and they usually appear on the lower extremities of the body. They are known as “spider veins” because they look like thin spider webs expanding outwards from a central location.

Spider veins are also dilated blood vessels with accumulated blood, usually caused by chronic venous insufficiency. The collapse of vein valves leads to backward blood circulation and the accumulation of blood in leg veins, leading to spider veins. While spider veins aren’t dangerous, the underlying chronic venous insufficiency is extremely dangerous.

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Vein Disease Symptoms

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome is a condition wherein you have an urgent, unexplainable, and continuous need to move, scratch, or shake your legs. This condition may prevent you from sleeping comfortably, leading to insomnia, discomfort, anxiety, and constant fatigue. It can affect your overall quality of life and prevent you from working effectively.

Restless legs syndrome is often caused by a medical condition known as chronic venous insufficiency, especially if the symptoms escalate and worsen at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing still. If you want to treat restless leg syndrome, you must consult a vein doctor in Maryland who will diagnose and treat the underlying chronic venous insufficiency.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are painful muscular contractions in the legs, usually resulting in a series of painful spasms that start on the legs and spread to other parts of the body, such as the arms. The spasms may last for a few seconds or minutes. Most people experience leg cramps occasionally, but frequent leg cramps are indicative of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or other medical conditions.

If you experience leg cramps despite maintaining a balanced diet that provides all essential minerals and nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium, then your condition may be caused by chronic venous insufficiency. You must consult a reliable vein clinic in Maryland that will diagnose and treat the root cause of your leg cramps for long-lasting relief.

Leg Heaviness

Leg heaviness is a condition wherein your legs feel extremely heavy, which can also lead to leg pain and discomfort. Chronic venous insufficiency is a potential underlying root cause of leg heaviness. The accumulation of blood in the leg veins can lead to leg heaviness and other symptoms, such as spider veins and varicose veins. You can temporarily alleviate leg heaviness with exercise and compression stockings, but you must consult a reliable vein clinic in Maryland to explore your treatment options.

Leg Swelling

Also known as peripheral edema, led swelling is a condition wherein the disruption of fluid balance in your cells leads to swollen ankles and feet. This condition is particularly high amongst pregnant women, and it might be caused by kidney failure, heart failure, or chronic venous insufficiency.

If the symptoms of leg swelling worsen at the end of the day or after long periods of inactivity, there’s a strong chance the condition is caused by underlying vein disease. You may alleviate the symptoms of leg swelling by elevating your legs above your heart’s level, exercising your leg muscles, or wearing compression stockings. Please contact a reliable vein clinic in Maryland to explore your minimally invasive vein treatment options.

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Causes of Vein Disease

Risk Factors for Vein Problems

Chronic venous insufficiency is the root cause of most vein conditions, including spider veins and varicose veins. This is a circulatory disorder caused by the collapse or malfunctioning of vein valves, the mechanisms within veins that facilitate optimal blood circulation to the heart. To understand your likelihood of vein problems, you must understand the risk factors for vein disease.

Genetic predisposition is the primary risk factor for vein conditions. If your parents have a history of vein problems, there’s a 90% chance that you will also develop vein problems at some point. Women are more likely than men to have vein conditions because the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, weaken the vein valves, increasing the risk of vein disease. Furthermore, pregnant women have an especially high risk of vein disease.

The risk of venous insufficiency also increases with age, and men over 50 have a high risk of vein disease. If you have a job that involves long periods of sitting or standing still, such as nursing, driving, teaching, or desk jobs, there’s a strong chance of blood accumulating in your leg veins, leading to chronic venous insufficiency. Obesity also increases the risk of vein disease. As such, you should determine if you have a high risk of vein disease.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is the primary root cause of most vein conditions, including spider veins, varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, frequent leg cramps, leg heaviness, and more.

Healthy veins contain valves that act as one-way doors to ensure smooth, one-way blood circulation to the heart. In the legs, the valves ensure blood flows towards the heart against the force of gravity. When your vein valves collapse, blood flows backward and accumulates in the leg veins, eventually leading to spider veins, varicose veins, and other vascular conditions.

At the initial stages, venous insufficiency leads to frequent leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, leg pain, leg heaviness, and spider veins. But as the condition worsens, you may experience leg ulcers, skin discoloration, and deep vein thrombosis. If you notice the signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, please schedule an appointment at a reliable vein clinic in Maryland.

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