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Varicose veins are protruding, enlarged, and often unsightly veins. There are lots of varicose vein symptoms that distinguish them from regular veins, or a spider vein, which is a form of varicose veins, although not as severe. While some varicose veins are simply a cosmetic issue, others can cause pain and discomfort. Read on to see if you do, indeed, have varicose veins and how to help alleviate them.

What are varicose vein symptoms?

The first sign to look for when determining whether you have varicose veins is their appearance. These veins are typically dark purple or blue. They appear large and bulging from your skin. They may appear anywhere on your body, although they are most commonly found on your legs or feet.

If the veins have progressed to a more severe state, they may leave your legs feeling heavy and aching. Sometimes the afflicted area will itch, burn, swell, and even bleed. Oftentimes the surrounding area will become red and inflamed. The muscles in your legs may cramp and throb after sitting or standing for extended periods of time.

There are some even more extreme symptoms that can result from varicose veins, although they are not uncommon. More severe symptoms include ulcers and blood clots. If you notice discoloration or a sudden onset of swelling, be sure to visit your doctor before the situation worsens.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins can’t always be prevented. Certain factors can make you predisposed to the condition, such as your family history, age, and gender. Seniors are more likely to develop varicose veins due to the wear of their veins over time. Women are also more prone due to hormonal changes including pre-menstruation and menopause. Also, pregnancy can cause varicose veins due to the increase in blood volume for the baby, while circulation may decrease.

There are also factors that play into developing varicose veins that can be avoided to aid in prevention. Being overweight puts undue pressure on your veins and legs. Also, sitting or standing for extended periods of time can decrease blood flow making varicose veins more likely.

How do you prevent varicose veins?

Varicose vein prevention starts with trying to avoid the high-risk factors, including watching your weight and getting regular exercise. It also helps to watch your diet, including eating foods rich in fiber and low in salt. Try to continuously change positions, including not sitting or standing for too long. Be sure to elevate your legs if you’re in pain or noticing the beginning symptoms.

How can you alleviate varicose vein symptoms?

Compression socks or stockings can help with the pain and discomfort of varicose veins. If the condition has progressed, or is not alleviated with compression or by elevating your legs, seek the medical attention of a doctor. There are medical treatments that can remove the veins. The best remedy, however, is to stop them in their tracks. As you notice discomfort in your legs, or as the less-severe spider veins start to emerge, change your routine and seek help immediately.