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About half of men and women have varicose veins by the time they reach age 50. Bulging, twisted and blue or dark purple in color, they’re easy to identify. And in most instances, they aren’t medically concerning. Sometimes though, varicose veins are symptomatic of a medical problem that requires intervention.
The experienced cardiologists and varicose vein specialists at Premier Cardiology Consultants, with five locations in New York City, are experts in diagnosing and treating varicose veins and other venous diseases.
Arteries and veins are the two types of blood vessels that circulate blood throughout your body. Arteries send oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins are the vessels that return used blood back to your heart. These thin-walled structures contain one-way valves that keep your blood moving in one direction.
Venous diseases (vein diseases) develop when vein issues interfere with the blood flowing back to your heart. These problems can affect either superficial veins found close to the surface of your skin or the deep veins located in the muscles of your major limbs.
Varicose veins are one type of venous disease affecting your more visible, superficial veins.
Varicose veins develop when your one-way valves weaken or fail, allowing blood to flow backward or collect in the vein. When this occurs, the swollen vein is visible underneath your skin. The chances of having varicose veins increase as we grow older, become overweight or obese, or spend long periods of time sitting or standing. You also have a 90% chance of getting varicose veins if both of your parents have the condition.
When you have varicose veins, they can also be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency — when blood pools in either superficial or deep leg veins. It’s even possible to have chronic venous insufficiency without having a visible varicose vein.
Chronic venous insufficiency manifests itself in symptoms like:
Chronic venous insufficiency can cause significant pain and discomfort. More serious venous diseases associated with varicose veins include superficial thrombophlebitis and deep-vein thrombosis.
Thrombophlebitis is a vein condition that develops when your vein becomes inflamed, usually because the blood flow is hampered by a blood clot.
Symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis can include:
These symptoms can also increase your risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in your veins. This vein disease occurs when your blood doesn’t clot or circulate normally.
Common causes of thrombosis include:
Deep vein thrombosis is especially dangerous because blood clots in your veins can loosen and travel to your lungs, blocking blood flow (usually called a pulmonary embolism) and possibly causing death.
Warning signs of a deep vein thrombosis include pain, cramping, or soreness in your leg, red or discolored skin, and a warm sensation. DVT can also occur without any obvious symptoms.
If you believe your varicose veins could possibly indicate a more serious venous condition, call us at Premier Cardiology Consultants or use the online booking tool to request an appointment at one of our five New York locations today.
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