What Do Varicose Veins Look Like?
Many people have no idea what varicose veins look or feel like, however, with a little insight it becomes much easier to identify these unsightly issues.
Varicose veins are basically dilated veins that are visibly apparent on the skin surface. They can range in color from red to a dark purple or blue color and can over time become quite noticeable. they are usually large, twisted and bumpy. They can be found anywhere on the body, but appear most frequently on the legs, especially the lower leg, behind the knee and the ankle.
Varicose veins are the result of chronic venous disease and get their appearance from how they develop. Unlike arteries, which have walls that push blood through them, veins have to rely on one-way valves to prevent blood from going the wrong way. In people with chronic venous disease, the valves don’t work the way they are supposed to, which allows blood to flow backward through the valve.
When this occurs, blood collects behind the valve, creating a pool of blood. As the blood accumulates, the vein will begin to dilate, giving it a bumpy appearance. The amount of blood collecting, in addition to the depth of the affected vein will ultimately determine the color of the vein. This distinctive appearance makes it easy for a vein specialist to diagnose varicose veins.
Spider veins tend to have a similar appearance, with the characteristic deep purple color but are usually more red than blue. They are not lumpy like varicose veins and are much smaller in comparison. They can also be found anywhere on the body but most frequently develop on the legs and face.
What do Varicose Veins Feel Like?
Symptoms of varicose and spider veins vary from patient to patient. Many patients may not even realize that they have any symptoms until they are brought to their attention. This is the direct result of the fact that most people view varicose and spider veins as primarily a “cosmetic” issue, not realizing that vein disease is actually a circulation defect. The more varicose and spider veins that a patient possesses, the more symptoms that they oftentimes experience. These symptoms, however, typically develop over years and therefore are often misinterpreted as normal signs of aging when in reality they are signs of that circulation defect. This is the reason patients unknowingly feel that the pain and heaviness they feel within their legs are normal aging issues, or the cramping and restlessness they experience at night is a potassium issue. For many vein patients, this is not the case. These sensations are experiencing are in fact a reflection of their vein issues.
Varicose vein treatment is available for patients in St. Louis that experience these signs, even if there is no pain or discomfort. A knowledgeable and experienced vein specialist like Dr. Sheen can treat varicose veins with ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or endovenous ablation laser therapy. After treatment, patients can go back to feeling better and more confident as seen in our before and after images.