Symptoms & Causes of Varicose Veins I Heritage, Gender, More

You may recognize varicose veins by their bluish, bulging appearance, but do you know what’s actually happening inside the body when you have them?

At San Diego Varicose Vein Treatment Center, we make it a point to educate and inform our patients on the causes and symptoms of varicose veins so they can take part in treating or preventing them. To understand varicose veins, some basic knowledge of the circulatory system is necessary.  

We have three main types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. Each type has a specific job in the body. Arteries carry the blood from the heart to the organs and tissues. Capillaries form a network to carry the blood through the organs and tissues. And veins collect the blood from the capillaries and return it to the heart.

While the arteries have thick walls to help them withstand the high pressure of the blood coming directly from the heart, vein walls are much thinner. Veins also have a one-way valve to prevent the backflow of blood.  When the vein walls or valves weaken, they fail to circulate the blood properly. It pools and causes the veins to bulge, resulting in varicose veins.

Varicose veins are most common in the legs and thighs. Besides weakness in the valves and vein walls, other specific causes of varicose veins may include inflammation of the veins (a disease known as phlebitis) or congenital abnormalities of the veins. Risk factors for varicose veins include:

  • Obesity

  • Older age

  • Gender (more common in women than men)

  • Pregnancy

  • Menopause

  • Standing for long periods of time

  • Chronic heart valve conditions

  • Chronic alcohol consumption (due to dilation of blood vessels and decrease in blood pressure)

  • Family history of varicose veins

Symptoms of varicose veins

For many people, aside from the unsightly appearance, varicose veins cause no problems at all. For others, they can result in uncomfortable and sometimes severe symptoms. The symptoms caused by varicose veins tend to get worse over time, and may include:

  • Heaviness and aching in the legs

  • Mild swelling of the feet or ankles

  • Throbbing and cramping at night

  • Skin color changes of the legs or ankles

  • Irregular circulation

  • Dry, scaly skin

  • Skin sores (ulcers)

  • Deep-vein thrombosis (blood clot)

Lifestyle changes are often the first treatment for varicose veins. They can reduce pain and prevent new varicose veins from forming. These changes may include: weight loss (to reduce pressure and improve blood flow), exercise and physical activity, avoidance of standing or sitting for long periods of time, and avoidance of tight clothes and high heels.

When lifestyle changes aren’t enough

At San Diego Varicose Vein Treatment Center, Dr. Behzad Taghizadeh will not only diagnose your varicose veins but also perform medical procedures to remove or close them.  These minimally invasive procedures eliminate the diseased veins, allowing the blood flow to redirect to healthier ones.  Some of the procedures we offer include:

  • Endovenous Thermal Ablation – This method uses high-frequency radio waves to create heat and close off the varicose veins.  

  • Sclerotherapy – A procedure that uses a solution injected into the varicose veins to scar and close them off.

  • Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy – Here we use ultrasound technology to find larger varicose veins hidden beneath the surface of the skin and inject them with a solution to scar and close them.

  • Phlebectomy – The doctor makes small incisions in the skin near the varicose vein and uses a phlebectomy hook to remove the diseased vein.

When you come to us for the diagnosis and treatment of your varicose veins, you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in good hands. Cardiologist Dr. Behzad Taghizadeh is highly specialized in varicose vein treatment, and he uses the latest in FDA-approved procedures.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Behzad Taghizadeh today.