Make Treating Your Varicose Veins a Healthy Priority

What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are veins whose walls have begun to thin, thus allowing the blood’s pressure to build up and create a bulge. This bulge is usually secondary to a dysfunctional valve in the vein. Vein specialists see this commonly in their practices.

There are a few different circumstances that cause varicose veins:
Valves get out of alignment

  1. Pressure increases because of long periods of standing
  2. Pregnancy increases venous blood pressure by increase in blood volume and body weight, progesterone relaxes veins
  3. Age causes thinning of vein walls
  4. Obesity

When the vein stretches abnormally, it can cause the valves that are normally in line with each other to come out of alignment. This can cause the blood to flow in the opposite direction (Venous Reflux) leading to increased pressure in the veins, and subsequent varicose veins.

Long periods of standing or sitting can cause a breakdown in the wall of veins leading to thinning. During pregnancy, the heavy weight of the uterus puts additional pressure on veins leading to dysfunction and breakage of the valves in the veins. Progesterone is a relaxing hormone whose levels rise during pregnancy, further relaxing weakened vein walls. The volume of blood increases in pregnancy as well by approximately 40 percent, and this adds to the pressure on the vein walls.

Varicosities are a common side effect of aging. It is normal for skin and for vein walls to thin with age, giving opportunity for varicosities to occur. Obesity increases the risk of varicose veins.

Varicose veins are usually easily seen as they are close to the surface of the skin. Blood in the body that has not yet been exposed to oxygen retains a bluish color, causing these veins to appear a deep blue or purple color. They can range in appearance from thin squiggly lines to bulging, twisted, and gnarled tubes that extend outward along the skin. Sometimes they are described as ropey looking or bright/dark blue veins.

In addition to being unsightly, these bulging veins can also be quite painful. Some lucky people experience no discomfort or pain while others have intense throbbing or burning sensations. Either way, it is smart to be seen by a vein specialist to find the appropriate treatment for you.

Symptoms of varicose veins:
Pain and symptoms differ among people and can include the following indicators:

  1. little to no pain
  2. burning
  3. a deep throbbing pain and burning sensations
  4. heavy, achy, or tired sensations in the limbs
  5. pooling of blood under the skin with a small varicose rupture
  6. an ulcer in the skin when a larger varicose vein ruptures
  7. restless legs
  8. muscle cramps
  9. itching

If you have any of these symptoms or you can see that your veins are not looking quite right and you suspect spider or varicose veins, call The Vein Specialists at 309-862-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians or request an appointment online at