surgery-688383_640Nearly half the U.S. population has varicose veins to varying degrees. For many people, they appear as blueish ropy bulges on the legs and, while they may be unsightly they don’t always pose a health risk. At Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville, we see patients with a wide range of complaints about their varicose veins, and most of our patients start with two questions: “How did I get varicose veins?” and “When do I do something about them?”

A variety of factors play a role in the development of varicose veins — genetics, gender, obesity, and lifestyle, to name a few. When weak or damaged one-way valves in your leg’s veins fail to block blood from flowing backwards as it returns to the heart, the blood can pool  in the veins and ultimately cause the bulging appearance.

Varicose veins may not always cause any symptoms, or they may cause aching pain, throbbing, and discomfort. According to the Office On Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, untreated varicose veins may be associated in some cases with more serious venous diseases which may cause conditions such as sores that won’t heal, due to long-term backing up of blood, or bleeding if the skin over the veins becomes thin and is easily injured.

Varicose veins cannot heal themselves, and tend to worsen as you age, so how do you know when to seek treatment? If you are experiencing any of the following, consult a vein specialist.

Pain & Swelling

Some people describe varicose vein pain as throbbing, others call it a heaviness. For other patients, swelling in the legs causes great discomfort. If you’re having uncomfortable swelling or any pain in your legs, even if it’s just a dull ache, don’t hesitate to get help.

Lifestyle Interference

If your varicose vein symptoms begin interfering with daily activities, it’s time to talk to a vein specialist. For example, one of the risk factors for varicose veins is long periods of sitting or standing. For those whose professions require one or the other — such as nurses, teachers, hairstylists, or office workers — leg pain or swelling may be interfering with their job performance. Other patients may have stopped doing activities they once enjoyed, such as walking or a favorite sport, because of leg discomfort.

Distress Over Appearance

Listen. It’s not vain to be concerned about how your veins make your legs look. Varicose veins can be very unsightly, and we’ve heard from countless patients who go to great lengths to keep their legs covered no matter the season or activity.

Regardless of your unique reasons for deciding to seek help, take heart in knowing that varicose vein treatments have never been easier. Depending on the severity of your varicose vein diagnosis, your vein specialist may recommend an in-office, minimally invasive procedure such as Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT), Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), Ambulatory Phlebectomy to treat more severe varicose veins, or sclerotherapy injections to address the appearance of small spider veins. Each of these procedures are typically completed in less than an hour and require little or no down time.

Premier Vein Clinic of Knoxville’s experienced vein specialists can help you take the next step towards saying goodbye to your varicose veins. Request a consult online or call (865) 588-8229 and schedule an appointment today.