What is varicose veins?

Varicose veins are a common condition where enlarged veins can appear on the skin.

While varicose veins are usually unrelated to any serious medical condition, some people feel unwell by their distinctive blue or purple appearance, or the itching, tingling, or discomfort that sometimes accompanies them. Fortunately, you can reduce these symptoms through healthy lifestyle habits and natural remedies.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the cases where the veins, namely the veins that carry the dirty blood to the heart, become swollen, twisted and visible just below the skin surface due to blood pressure or valve problems.

Varicose veins can also occur deeper in the body, but they usually appear as bulging blue or purple veins on the legs or ankles. They are more common in women than men. Experts think that the estrogen hormone, which is more dominant in women, may affect vascular health. [1]

You can visually diagnose varicose veins or check with your doctor with an ultrasound test. [2]

Varicose Veins Symptoms

In some people, the only symptoms of varicose veins are their blue or purple appearance. For others, varicose veins cause bothersome symptoms such as:

  • swollen ankles or feet;
  • Pain or a heavy feeling in the legs;
  • Burning, burning, tingling, or warmth in the legs;
  • leg cramps or aches;
  • discoloration of the skin;
  • Itching.

Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

Spider veins are so named because of their appearance. With spider veins, tiny red or blue capillaries – the smallest blood vessels in the body – appear under the skin in a spider web-like pattern.

Spider veins are smaller and thinner than varicose veins and do not come out of the skin. They are most common on the legs or face and are usually a cosmetic problem. [3] Similar problems cause both varicose veins and spider veins: poor circulation, poor blood vessels, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise.

GlobalHealingCenter, Varicose Veins: The 10 Best Natural Remedies to Try, 2018

References

  1. Raffetto JD, et al. Estrogen receptor-mediated enhancement of venous relaxation in female rat. Implications in sex-related differences in varicose veins. J Vasc Surg. 2010;51(4):972-981.
  2. LinF, et al. The management of varicose veins. Int Surgery. 2015;100(1):185-189.
  3. Varicose Veins. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  4. Varicose Veins: 7 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe. Cleveland Clinic. Updated 2 Dec 2015. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  5. Orchard A, van Vuuren S. Commercial essential oils as potential antimicrobials to treat skin diseases. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:4517971.
  6. Wen L, et al. Vitamin K-dependent proteins involved in bone and cardiovascular health. Mol Med Rep. 2018;18(1):3-15.
  7. Geleijnse J, et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam study. J Nutr. 2004;134(11):3100-3105.
  8. Underland V, et al. Cochrane summary of results: horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012;1(1):122-123.
  9. Holdstock JM, et al. Hemorrhoids are associated with internal iliac vein reflux in up to one-third of women presenting with varicose veins associated with pelvic vein reflux. phlebology 2015;30(2):133-9.
  10. Chauhan R, Kapoor V. Association of varicose veins of lower extremities with varicocele and hemorrhoids: a case report. Med J Armed Forces India. 1996;52(1):59-60.
  11. Piazza G. Varicose Veins. circulation 2014;130:582–587.
  12. Belcaro G, et al. Postpartum varicose veins: supplementation with Pycnogenol or elastic compression—a 12-month follow-up. Int J Angiol. 2017; 26(01): 012-019.
  13. Varicose Veins — Endovenous Laser Therapy. Circulation Foundation: The Vascular Charity. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  14. Kayssi A, et al. Endovenous radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of varicose veins. Can J Surg. 2015;58(2):85-86.
  15. Varicose Veins – Injection Treatment or Sclerotherapy. Circulation Foundation: The Vascular Charity. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  16. Hager Dr. E. Varicose Veins. Society for Vascular Surgery. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  17. Chen CL, Guo HR. Varicose veins in hairdressers and associated risk factors: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:885.
  18. Leg Veins: Why We Get Them and How Dermatologists Treat Them. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  19. Varicose Veins and Spider Veins. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Updated 25 Sep 2018. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
  20. Chang SL, et al. Association of Varicose Veins With Incident Venous Thromboembolism and Peripheral Artery Disease. JAMA. 2018;319(8):807-817.
  21. Blood Clots and Travel: What You Need to Know. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated 5 Feb 2018. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.

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