Varicose veins now affect around 25 percent of adults and occur when veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Their appearance varies but they are often swollen and raised with a bluish-purple or red colour, sometimes causing pain. They can vary in size from quite small (2-3mm across) to very large (2-3cms across).
The cause of varicose veins varies depending on your age, however, potential factors include:
• Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
• Being over 50
• Genetic pre-disposition
You can keep an eye out for the initial symptoms and visit your GP if you’re worried you might be developing varicose veins. You may feel:
• Aching, throbbing or burning leg pain
• Heaviness, cramps or restless legs
• Swollen ankles
• Dark skin patches over veins
To reduce your risk, the best way is to manage your weight through regular physical activity and to review your habits to make sure you’re enjoying a healthy, balanced diet. Simply changing your sitting position or standing position regularly can help. It might even be worth investing in some compression stockings, especially if you are travelling regularly by air.
If your varicose veins are causing you concern, treatments are available from your doctor. It’s important to seek early intervention if you notice any oncoming symptoms. Varicose veins can be pretty painful and may only get worse if left without proper treatment.
Find out more about what causes varicose veins and potential treatment options on the Vascular Surgeons of Australia & New Zealand website.