Tired, heavy and swollen legs, especially at night - this is usually the result of a disturbed function of the leg veins. A predominantly standing or sedentary occupation usually aggravates this condition. But overweight and wrong footwear can contribute to the normal venous function being disabled. Varicose veins (varices) and spider veins are the result.
How do varicose veins show?
Besides the earlier described swellings, small, bluish or reddish discolored vessels show up on the skin surface - the so-called spider veins. Also, thicker veins, called varices (varicose veins) can become visible. These arise from the fact that the return back to the heart is disturbed by for example faulty vein valves. Due to the congestion of blood in the veins, the entire lower leg experiences hardening and discoloration. This is a sign of an under-supply of the tissue that can be destroyed in the worst case - the so-called "open leg" (leg ulcer) may be the result.
What are the other dangers in case of varicose veins?
Varicose veins can lead to painful inflammations of the veins (phlebitis / thrombophlebitis). This encompasses the development of blood clots in the surface veins with an inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Such a clot (a thrombus) may lead to the occlusion of further and bigger blood vessels. At worst, if the clot dissolves, this can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.
What can I do?
Veins that are damaged to such a bad degree that blood does no longer flow properly, but instead accumulates in them, have to be treated! Depending on the symptoms and the severity various treatment options come in question after an extensive diagnosis was given. Treatments can be combined in many cases.
Several factors are known to be risk factors for venous disease: these include a system-related connective tissue weakness, heredity, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise.