Varicose Veins (cont.)
What Increases Your Risk
Factors that increase your risk of developing varicose veins include:
- Pregnancy (particularly repeated pregnancies).
- Being female.
- Advancing age.
- Being overweight (tends to be a stronger factor in women). Having low muscle mass and high body fat decreases the support for the veins.
- Family history of varicose veins.
- Prolonged sitting or standing.
- Conditions that increase pressure in the abdomen, such as liver disease, fluid in the abdomen, previous groin surgery, or heart failure.
- Injury to the veins.
- Blood clots.
When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if you have varicose veins and:
- Your leg suddenly becomes swollen and painful. You might have a blood clot in a deep vein, which can be serious and may need prompt attention.
- Skin over a varicose vein begins to bleed on its own or when it is injured. The skin over varicose veins is often thin and can bleed heavily. If this happens, elevate your leg and apply pressure directly to the vein to stop the bleeding.
- Your leg has a tender lump. This could be a clot or inflammation in a vein just under the skin, which is usually not dangerous but may need treatment.
- You develop an open sore (ulcer).
- Your varicose vein symptoms don't improve with home treatment, or there are symptoms you are concerned about.
Varicose veins are common and are generally not a serious health problem. With a doctor keeping an eye on the condition, most people can manage varicose veins with home treatment, such as exercising, wearing compression stockings, and elevating the legs.
Who To See
Primary care doctors (including internists, family medicine doctors, and general practitioners) can diagnose, treat, and monitor varicose veins and most of the complications they may cause.
Minimally invasive procedures or surgery may be done by:
- A surgeon who specializes in blood vessel problems (vascular surgeon).
- A dermatologist.
- A plastic surgeon.
- Other doctors with special training and experience in treating varicose veins.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.