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Understanding Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

At First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, we often see patients who complain of leg pain. This pain is often described as an “aching” or “cramping” in the legs. When this pain is matched with other symptoms, including tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, or heaviness in the legs, then you may be suffering from pain associated with varicose veins and spider veins.

What are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin.

Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn. Spider veins are easily visible through the skin as well. They are also most often seen on the legs and face.

There are several risk factors that may increase the risk of varicose veins and spider veins, including age, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, sun exposure and lack of movement.

Causes of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

  • Heredity.
  • Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers.
  • Obesity.
  • Hormonal influences during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause.
  • The use of birth control pills.
  • Postmenopausal hormonal replacement.
  • A history of blood clots.
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen including tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments like girdles.

When to Call First Coast Cardiovascular Institute for Varicose Veins
If you have varicose veins, and any of the following instances below, please contact First Coast Cardiovascular Institute to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

  • Your leg suddenly becomes swollen and painful. This may be the cause of a blood clot in a deep vein, which can be a potentially serious problem.
  • The skin over the varicose vein begins to bleed on its own or when injured. The skin over varicose veins may often be thin so it’s more susceptible to injury and bleeding. If that happens, elevate your leg then apply pressure directly to the vein.
  • Your leg has a tender lump, which may be the result of a clot or inflammation in a vein under the skin. Although this is typically not dangerous, it is important to receive treatment.

Contact us today if you’re suffering from leg pain, or any other symptoms associated with varicose and spider veins.

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