What are Varicose Veins?

What are Varicose Veins?

Have you been noticing little purple and blue veins suddenly appearing on your legs? You could have varicose veins. These veins are abnormal, swollen and twisted blood vessels. They are often surrounded by thin, red capillaries commonly known as spider veins.

Varicose veins are a type of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a category of diseases that affect the flow of blood in your legs. Peripheral Vascular Diseases include:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Varicose Veins
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Varicose Veins — Not Just a Cosmetic Inconvenience

 Varicose veins are not only a cosmetic inconvenience; they can also be very painful.

“A lot of my patients that have varicose veins have to go home at the end of their workday, put their legs up on a couch, take some Tylenol® or Advil® and do these things to get the pressure off of their legs by elevating them,” says Vascular & Interventional Radiologist Dr. Kirk Minkus, at Southwest Cardiovascular Associates in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Similarities and Differences Between Varicose Veins and PAD

 PAD and varicose veins have some similar symptoms, such as leg pain, heaviness, a warm feeling and aching in your legs. Other symptoms of PAD include:

  • Cold toes or feet
  • Dry, discolored skin
  • Pain while walking
  • Nighttime leg pain
  • Numbness
  • Wound that won’t heal
  • Gangrene or black tissue

Studies have shown that patients with varicose veins may be at increased risk for PAD. The American College of Cardiology notes that the association between varicose veins and PAD is not certain, but clinicians should still be aware of a possible connection. Your doctor will likely ask about your symptoms at your appointments and routinely check the pulse and blood pressure in your legs and feet.

Don’t assume you know whether your symptoms are the result of PAD or varicose veins. Find a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

“If you have any of these venous-type symptoms, you need to get in touch with a vascular specialist like myself,” says Dr. Minkus. “We can discuss with you the treatments we have to be able to fix varicose veins issues and this tight, bloated, swollen, painful, achy, warm feeling in your legs that you experience every day.”

For More Information

 Would you like to know more about varicose veins? Watch Dr. Minkus discuss this subject in “Varicose Veins Explained”, brought to you by Take A Stand Against Amputation® and The Way To My Heart.

 Don’t let your symptoms intensify. Use CSI’s Find a Doctor tool to talk to a PAD specialist today.