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Varicose veins are quite common, particularly among women. Many patients seek varicose vein treatment near Houston because of cosmetic concerns. However, it’s important to realize that if left untreated, varicose veins may sometimes result in health complications. These may include a venous ulcer or the formation of blood clots. If you suspect you may have noticed the signs and symptoms of varicose veins, you can consult a doctor who specializes in vascular conditions.

Signs and Symptoms

Most often, patients notice the signs of varicose veins in the legs. They can be indicated by gnarled and enlarged veins that are visible beneath the skin. They may appear to have a dark purple or blue color. The area around the visible veins may itch. Sometimes, patients also experience pain or discomfort in the area. You may suffer from aching or a heavy feeling in the legs. Or, you may report muscle cramping, swelling, throbbing, or burning sensations, especially in the lower legs. The pain may become worse when you sit or stand for a long period of time.

Causes and Risk Factors

The heart forcefully pumps blood throughout the body. However, there is no such force that returns the blood to the heart from the lower extremities. Instead, the legs rely on muscle contractions to propel the blood upward. The blood is prevented from flowing backward by a series of small valves in the veins. However, as a person grows older, the veins may no longer be as elastic as they once were. This results in stretching of the veins and weakening of the valves. When the valves malfunction, blood can accumulate, which causes the veins to become enlargedand visible beneath the skin. Age-related changes are not the only possible culprits of varicose vein symptoms. Women may also develop varicose veins during pregnancy because pregnancy dramatically increases the volume of blood in a woman’s body. Pregnancy also inhibits the flow of blood from the legs upward. Although these circulatory changes are necessary to support the baby, they commonly result in varicose veins.