More than one-third of people in the United States develop varicose veins — those bulging, ropey veins that appear on the surface of your skin, usually in your legs. Thankfully, in many cases, these veins pose nothing more than a cosmetic concern. For the rest, varicose veins can become symptomatic, and the symptoms may keep you up at night.
At Upper East Side Cardiology, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and our team specialize in treating problematic veins, including varicose veins. Because of our expertise, we understand the many ways that varicose veins can affect your life, including how well you sleep. Let’s take a look.
Varicose veins basics
The veins in your legs have a tougher job than veins in other areas — they have to fight both distance and gravity to deliver blood back to your heart and lungs. To help with this effort, the veins in your legs have tiny, one-way valves that shut off as blood passes through to prevent it from spilling backward.
If these valves weaken, blood can pool in your superficial veins, causing them to engorge and push toward the surface of your skin, creating varicose veins.
In many cases, these veins are nothing more than a cosmetic concern, and they don't cause any symptoms.
For those who do develop symptoms, they may encounter:
- Leg pain, which is usually a dull ache or throbbing
- A feeling of heaviness in the legs
- Itchiness around the veins
- Skin discoloration
In extreme cases, ulcers can develop around the varicose veins.
How varicose veins can affect your sleep
If your varicose veins cause symptoms, these symptoms can crop up at any time of the day, but you’re often more aware of them at night. During a busy day, discomfort may take a backseat as you’re distracted by all you need to accomplish. At night, however, when things quiet down, you become more aware of sensations like leg pain and itchiness.
Another reason varicose vein symptoms may flare at night is if you’ve been on your feet all day and developed leg swelling as a result. This swelling can exacerbate the symptoms you already experience because of your varicose veins, creating a perfect storm of leg discomfort that can prevent you from sleeping well.
Treating your varicose veins
If you find that your varicose veins are causing you to lose sleep, the good news is that we offer several different outpatient treatment options at our Vein Institute that can eliminate the veins, including:
- Radiofrequency ablation (ClosureFast™)
- Adhesive (VenaSeal™ Closure System)
- Sclerotherapy (Varithena®)
To figure out which varicose treatment is right for you, please call our New York City office on the Upper East Side at (212) 752-3464.