Does Poor Circulation Cause Varicose Veins?
Knowing when to talk to your vascular specialist about your varicose veins can be challenging, especially since varicose veins aren't just a cosmetic issue. Whether your concerns are cosmetic or functional, your Center for Vein Restoration vein specialist is here to help you navigate the symptoms and causes of varicose veins, recommending treatment tailored to your needs.
Varicose veins begin to form due to increased blood pressure and volume in the blood vessels. This increase in volume and pressure causes inflammation and damage to the vein. This damage causes the vein to bulge and twist, becoming visible below the skin's surface. Varicose veins can cause discomfort, signaling potential circulatory problems.
Some causes of varicose veins include but aren't limited to:
Many myths surround varicose veins, including the misconception that crossing your legs will cause them. However, varicose veins stem from lifestyle factors, the development of venous insufficiency, and genetic factors, not from sitting with crossed legs. If you have a career where you're sitting for long periods, you should include stretches and breaks in your day to get up and move around.
It's important to separate facts from myths regarding varicose veins and your vascular health. Understanding the facts can help you manage expectations and focus on effective prevention and treatment strategies.
Another common myth is that varicose veins are just a cosmetic issue like spider veins. Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic issue; they can be painful and indicate underlying vascular problems like chronic venous insufficiency. Varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins, which facilitate blood flow towards the heart against gravity, fail to function correctly.
When bicuspid valves are damaged, blood pools in the veins, causing them to swell and bulge. While varicose and spider veins may share some of the same symptoms and causes, varicose veins can be a red flag for your vascular health. To stay proactive about your overall vascular health, tell your doctor or vascular specialist about any changes to your veins or uncomfortable new symptoms.
Symptoms of varicose veins include but aren't limited to:
Visible veins that appear dark and twisted on the surface of the skin.
Pain, aching, heaviness, and muscle cramps in the legs.
Swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles.
Itching, burning, or throbbing in the legs, especially near the varicose veins.
Skin changes include thickening, discoloration (brownish or blue shade), and ulcers, particularly around the lower extremities.
What do Varicose Veins Have to Do With My Circulation?
Our circulatory system comprises arteries that deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body and veins that return oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. Veins have one-way valves, called bicuspid valves, that prevent blood pooling and back-flowing. When these valves become damaged or weakened, it can lead to a type of vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition characterized by the inability of the veins to return blood from the legs to the heart efficiently.
Chronic venous insufficiency or CVI is a type of vein disease that results in blood pooling in the lower extremities, causing a range of symptoms from swelling and varicose veins to skin changes and ulcers. Chronic venous insufficiency not only affects the physical health of an individual, leading to discomfort and pain, but can also significantly impact their quality of life.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency is crucial for early detection and effective management.
With appropriate treatment and lifestyle adjustments, individuals can alleviate the symptoms of CVI and prevent further complications, ensuring better vascular health and overall well-being.
Poor circulation can significantly contribute to the development of varicose veins. When vein valves are weakened or damaged, blood doesn't flow efficiently back to the heart, leading to pooling in the veins.
Blood pooling due to vessel damage causes the veins to enlarge and twist, increasing the feeling of heaviness, itching, inflammation, and discomfort in the legs. While varicose veins can indicate chronic venous insufficiency, they also signal broader circulatory issues that can affect overall health. Causes and symptoms of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency tend to overlap, so it's important to talk to your vein specialist about your veins.
Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include but aren't limited to:
Leg Swelling (Edema): One of the most common signs, often affecting the lower legs and ankles, is due to fluid accumulation.
Varicose Veins: These are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins, often appearing blue or dark purple. They occur when dysfunctional valves in the veins allow blood to flow backward or to pool.
Pain and Discomfort: This can range from a dull throb to a sharp ache, often worsening after standing or sitting for long periods.
Leg Heaviness and Fatigue: Legs may feel uncomfortably heavy and tired, particularly towards the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
Skin Changes: The skin on the legs, especially near varicose or spider veins, may become itchy, thin, and discolored, known as stasis dermatitis. The skin may also appear shiny or tight due to swelling.
Ulcers: Venous ulcers are slow-healing sores that can develop on the skin, particularly near the ankles, due to long-term blood pooling. These ulcers are often recurrent and can be challenging to treat.
Itching and Tingling: The legs may itch or feel tingling due to accumulated waste products in the skin from the pooled blood.
Restless Legs Syndrome: Some people with chronic venous insufficiency may experience restless legs syndrome or RLS, a condition characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, often accompanied by an uncomfortable "crawling" or "bubbling" feeling in the legs.
How Can I Manage My Varicose Veins?
Preventing or managing varicose veins primarily involves improving your circulation with lifestyle changes. Varicose veins don't go away without treatment. Still, you can improve your circulation and get symptom relief by including minor changes in your daily routine that can add extra benefits over time.
You can improve your circulation with regular cardio exercises like walking, swimming, biking, and even light aerobics. Talk to your vascular specialist about the best activities for improving your circulation.
Obesity can put a lot of pressure on your lower body and circulatory system. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure on the veins. You can work towards maintaining a healthy weight by incorporating more exercise into your routine and eating nutritious meals high in fiber with lean proteins like chicken and fish.
If you've been sitting or standing for long periods, elevating your legs can help increase venous return (the blood returning to the heart). Compression stockings can also help support vein walls and prevent blood from pooling.
Other lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, limiting caffeine and alcohol, staying hydrated, limiting stress, and getting adequate sleep can help improve your circulation and overall health.
Exercise caution before taking any over-the-counter supplements or home remedies, as they may be ineffective or interfere with your existing medications. Talk to your vascular specialist before starting any alternative treatments.
What Are My Treatment Options for Varicose Veins?
Many treatment options for varicose veins include prevention through lifestyle modifications and minimally invasive medical procedures.
Before recommending treatment, your vascular specialist will meet with you to get a medical history, including a family history, to determine some underlying causes for your varicose veins and rule out any potential risks, such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Center for Vein Restoration treatments for varicose veins include:
These are minimally invasive in-office varicose vein procedures that get you back on your feet and back to doing what you love faster.
Center For Vein Restoration: Varicose Vein Diagnosis and Treatment
Varicose veins and your circulation are intricately linked, as poor circulation significantly develops and exacerbates varicose veins. Understanding this relationship is crucial for effective prevention and treatment, giving you, as the patient, the power to ask questions and advocate for your vascular health.
You can proactively manage your circulatory health by recognizing misinformation and myths, focusing on factual information, and actionable treatment and prevention.
If varicose veins are a concern, consulting with a vascular specialist can provide personalized advice and treatment options. Remember, varicose veins are more than a cosmetic issue; they're a sign that your veins need attention. Taking action improves your vein health and contributes to your overall well-being.
Our expert vascular specialists at Center for Vein Restoration are committed to guiding you through understanding the causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options for varicose veins. Whether you're experiencing discomfort or concerned about cosmetic changes, we're here to offer personalized care tailored to your unique needs.
Don't let varicose veins slow you down.Schedule your consultation today to explore how we can improve your vascular health and overall quality of life, or call 240-965-3915 to speak to a Patient Services Representative. Find a center near you.