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Common Symptoms of Vein Disease-Varicose Veins

Common Symptoms of Vein Disease-Varicose Veins

Posted on November 7, 2013 by Dr. Stephen Rivard

Common Symptoms of Vein Disease-Varicose Veins: What Everyone Should Know

Today in America nearly 1 out of every 4 people have vein disease-varicose veins. If you factor in all the other potential conditions that may increase your chances for having them, by the time you are 50 this number increases to almost half the population. Most people, however, tend to think of varicose veins as something that doesn’t really present itself until that later age, but because varicose veins is real disease this is more of a myth, and the results of letting it go untreated can be severe. That is why knowing the symptoms of vein disease (i.e. the symptoms of varicose veins) is probably something that everyone above the age of 10 should know. Here are some of the most important and noticeable venous disease symptoms:

Symptoms of Varicose Veins in the Legs:  Spider Veins

Probably the most common place a person will notice that they have varicose veins is in their legs. There are spider_veinsgenerally two types of visible veins that appear. These are commonly known as either Spider Veins or Varicose Veins.  The symptoms of spider veins (the red or blue colored veins that are close to the surface) is simply that- a discoloration of the skin around the ankles or upper thighs. Occasionally, spider veins can cause some discomfort, like an itching or tingling sensation, particularly during warmer seasons. However,it is important to note that while many doctors have often considered spider veins to be purely a cosmetic concern, 25% of the time, these spider veins are really an early warning of an underlying problem of venous disease. Moreover, while treating them will obviously make your legs look better, more importantly they will alleviate these symptoms and the future progression of your vein disease.  Varicose veins, on the other hand, are generally visible on the leg as large bulging rope like veins that stem mainly from the upper thigh all the way down to the ankles.  Varicose veins are the result of chronic venous insufficiency, which causes the blood to pool near and around the ankles. If your varicose veins are left untreated this can lead to significant health concerns latter on.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins in the Legs: Swelling, Leg Cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome. 

Some of the more common early symptoms of varicose veins involve issues of swelling, leg cramps and ‘restless leg’ syndrome. Although swelling in the legs during the early stages of venous disease-varicose veins generally goes unnoticed in terms of pain, the discomfort typically increases as the disease gets worse (i.e. the longer it is left untreated).  Additionally, for people that are required to work long hours standing upright, the swelling can turn into leg fatigue and even leg cramps. Furthermore, people that experience restless leg syndrome may actually be experiencing the results of varicose veins, particularly when experienced in conjunction with the other symptoms mentioned.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins in the Legs:  Ulcers

If varicose veins are left untreated, over time the skin begins to show signs of discoloration and becomes firmer to the touch.  As we mentioned above, due to poor circulation created when the vein valves break, the blood return to the heart is slowed and eventually pools near and around the ankles.  This causes the legs to swell and the skin around the ankles to turn red or blue in color.  If you can imagine tying a rubber band around the top of your finger where over time the tip of the finger turns blue or purple, well this is a result of poor circulation and a simplified analogy.  If the circulation of blood from the feet to the heart is no longer working properly as a result of varicose veins the skin where the blood collects essentially cannot receive oxygen and begins to deteriorate and die. Ultimately, the skin near the ankles will turn brown in color demonstrating that the disease is more advanced, and is a precursor to open wounds or what is better known as venous leg ulcers (also known as venous stasis ulcers). 

In the most advanced stages of vein disease a patient may suffer from venous leg ulcers, where at this point the tissue becomes damaged and begins to crack or break.  Venous leg ulcers are a persistent issue for many people as they typically do not heal on their own and require constant care (e.g. wound wraps, scrapping, medication, etc). Generally, unless the ulcer is treated at its source by treating the underlying varicose veins, they will continue to get worse, more painful, and significantly impact a person’s quality of life. However, by receiving the proper treatment for their varicose veins, even patients with long-lasting ulcers have been able to  heal and fully recover.

It is important to note that venous disease frequently occurs in both men and women, and is hereditary. Therefore, the symptoms listed above can very well be symptoms of varicose veins in men as well as women from as early as age 10 on up.

Seeking Relief from a Board Certified Phlebologist

If you have chronic pain that worsens throughout the day, particularly when standing, or any of the other symptoms mentioned above, you may want to seek a second opinion from a board certified phlebologist. Often you can ask for a referral from your doctor, or search for one in your area.

It is important to know that varicose veins-vein disease is a real disease and with the proper treatment from a board certified phlebologist you can eliminate your varicose and spider veins and prevent further pain and suffering.

At Illinois Vein Specialists, we care just as much about the medicine and the specialized practice of Phlebology as we do our patients. We focus only on treating varicose and spider veins and treat patients in Buffalo Grove, Cary, Elgin, Algonquin, Palatine, Vernon Hills, Crystal Lake, Lake Zurich, Fox River Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Wauconda, Chicago, and all areas of Barrington, Illinois. We understand that when you choose a doctor you want to go to someone you know, like and trust, and honestly so do we. We know that patients come to us most often from satisfied patient referrals, but we encourage you to do your own homework and ask around. In the end no matter where you live or who you decide to have treat your varicose or spider veins find someone who focuses only on diagnosing and treating varicose and spider veins -- find a Board Certified Phlebologist.


For more information on the treatment and diagnosis of Varicose Veins download our Patient Guide!
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Tagged Venous Leg Ulcers, symptoms of varicose veins in legs, venous stasis ulcer, restless leg syndrome, common symptoms of varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, symptoms of varicose veins in men, venous disease symptoms, common symptoms of vein disease