When Varicose Veins become More than a Cosmetic Concern

Most of us are all too familiar with what varicose veins look like. Those bulging, twisting blue and purple lines that typically appear on the lower leg often keep sufferers from wearing shorts or short skirts out of embarrassment. While varicose veins can indeed be a serious cosmetic concern, some find the veins are accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms as well. When these symptoms appear, rest assured treatments are available to effectively eliminate the appearance of varicose veins, as well as the painful symptoms that sometimes accompany them.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Symptoms of varicose veins can vary from patient to patient and might include:

Heaviness or aching in the legs, particularly at the end of the day

  • Swelling in the lower leg, ankle or foot
  • Night cramping or restless leg syndrome
  • Discoloration or thickening of the skin around the varicose vein
  • The formation of open sores, known as venous ulcers

Varicose vein symptoms are caused by a condition known as venous insufficiency. Tiny valves inside the veins ensure blood moves in a uniform direction, back to the heart. These valves can wear out or become damaged over time, causing blood to back up in the veins. When blood accumulates, the veins begin to swell and varicose veins can appear.

The condition is most commonly seen in the lower leg, because these veins have to work even harder to pump blood back up to the heart. Because they work against the forces of gravity, it is more likely the valves in these veins will wear out. Other factors like heredity, weight gain or pregnancy can increase your chances of developing varicose veins.

Treatment for Varicose Veins

Treatment designed to eliminate the appearance of varicose veins also works effectively on eliminating symptoms. Treatment is focused on sealing the diseased vein closed. The vein is either removed from the leg or reabsorbed by the body, while blood is rerouted through healthy veins nearby. When healthy blood flow is restored, the symptoms that accompany venous insufficiency are also relieved, sometimes as soon as treatment is completed.

It is also important to note that insurance companies frequently distinguish between symptomatic and asymptomatic varicose veins when it comes to treatment coverage. This means that if you have documented symptoms accompanying your veins, like the symptoms listed above, there is a good chance your insurance company will pay at least a portion of your varicose vein treatment.

Varicose veins can be more than a cosmetic concern; they can also develop into a physically painful condition. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact the staff at PCI Vein Center at 319-362-5118 to learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment.


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