You look down and notice that some veins in your legs aren’t where they’re supposed to be — they’ve risen to the surface and look like squiggly worms have made their way under your skin. Welcome to the world of varicose veins, which affect about 30% of the general population.
Since varicose veins clearly involve your cardiovascular system, you’re understandably concerned about the development, and you want to know whether they pose any danger. In short, the answer is not likely, but maybe.
We understand that this answer is vague, so allow Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team here at The Vein Institute at Upper East Side Cardiology to explain further.
A circulatory issue
The leading cause of varicose veins is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which affects as many as 17% of men and up to 40% of women, which is why varicose veins are more prevalent in females.
CVI occurs when tiny, one-way valves in the veins malfunction and don’t close all the way. When this happens, blood can spill backward and pool, engorging a vein to the point where it’s pushed toward the surface of your skin.
The reason why the majority of varicose veins don't pose any serious medical threat is that they develop in superficial veins in your legs. These veins are nearer to the surface of your skin and are only responsible for about 10% of the circulation in your legs. The bulk of the work falls to veins deeper inside your legs.
Nonetheless, as cardiovascular experts, we want to point out that, even if your varicose veins aren’t a problem, medically-speaking, they are signaling that some of your veins can use a little extra support. You can provide this support with compression stockings or, better still, exercising more to beef up your calf muscles.
When varicose veins pose problems
If your CVI is more advanced, the varicose veins may be a part of larger group of symptoms that include:
- A dull ache in your lower legs
- A feeling of heaviness in your legs that leads to fatigue
- Restless legs at night
- Swelling or inflammation
- Discoloration in your skin
- Ulcers that are slow to heal
If you recognize any of these symptoms, it’s important to come see us for a comprehensive vein evaluation.
Treating your varicose veins
Whether your varicose veins are problematic or you just don’t like the cosmetic effect in your legs, the good news is that we offer quick-and-easy solutions for getting rid of them.
From foam sealants to radiofrequency ablation, we can make quick work of varicose veins during a simple outpatient visit.
If you’d like to have your varicose veins expertly evaluated and treated, we invite you to contact our New York City office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to schedule a consultation. You can also call (212) 752-3464.