Older people often have a higher risk of developing varicose veins, which are caused by poor blood circulation.
Varicose veins are usually painful, but the pain can also be sharp and shooting. The pain can become worse when you sit for long periods, stand for long periods, or lift heavy objects.
You can often treat varicose veins at home, but you may need to see a doctor if:
- The pain is severe
- You have other symptoms, such as a headache or feeling tired
- You have a lot of severe varicose veins
- You have skin changes, such as thickened skin or ulcers on your legs
If you have chronic pain, you may need to see a doctor. Your doctor may recommend specific treatment or recommend you use compression stockings.
Treatments for varicose veins
Managing and treating varicose veins can be difficult. But it’s important to talk to your doctor and get the right treatment.
If you have varicose veins, compression stockings can help relieve your symptoms. They help keep your veins from bulging and can help prevent blood clots from developing.
Compression stockings can help reduce the pain that’s associated with varicose veins. They should be worn for at least 20 minutes in the morning and at least 20 minutes at night.
Doctors recommend wearing compression stockings for at least six months and then changing them every two weeks or so.
If you’re getting treatment for varicose veins, you should also wear compression stockings for 30 minutes whenever you sit or stand.
If you already have sclerotherapy, you should only wear compression stockings for four hours per day.
Compression stockings can help you prevent varicose veins from getting worse in the long term. They can also help you manage symptoms when you do have them.
If you have more than one varicose vein, your doctor may recommend you use a sclerotherapy procedure. This is a procedure that shrinks your veins.
During the procedure, your doctor injects a chemical into the affected veins to close them up.
You should avoid sitting for long periods of time to avoid any blood clots forming.
If you have a lot of varicose veins, you may need to wear compression stockings for the rest of your life.
Varicose veins are usually harmless and can be easily treated. But they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Complications can include:
- Blood clots
- Ulceration of the skin
- Skin changes
- Changes in your skin color
- Skin infection
- Fat loss
If you experience any complications, speak to your doctor immediately.
Varicose veins typically go away on their own. But if you have varicose veins and the pain is severe, you may need to see a doctor.
Your doctor can recommend specific treatment options to relieve your symptoms.
There are a few things you can do at home to help relieve painful varicose veins. These include:
- Using compression stockings. These help to reduce the amount of pressure on your veins.
- Avoiding sitting for long periods of time.
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time.
- Using heat pads to reduce swelling.
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin.
- Taking certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners.
- Avoiding certain activities, such as lifting heavy objects.
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Exercising regularly.
- Using a compression garment.
Preventing varicose veins
You can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Avoiding smoking.
- Drinking alcohol in moderation.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Doing regular physical activity.
- Exercising regularly, but not to the point of fatigue.
- Taking time off from sports or other activities that make your legs feel heavy.
- Wearing proper compression stockings.
- Taking prescription anticoagulant medication.
When to see a doctor?
Varicose veins are usually harmless. But they can cause severe pain and discomfort.
If you develop varicose veins, talk to your doctor so that they can recommend the best treatment options for you.
If your varicose veins are causing extreme pain, you should see your doctor to get the right treatment.
How to tell if you’re having a stroke?
A stroke happens when there’s a interruption in blood flow to your brain. If you’ve been having a stroke, you’ll likely experience the following symptoms:
- A sudden, severe headache
- A sudden, severe headache that doesn’t go away
- Slurred speech
- Loss of vision or change in vision
- Numbness, weakness, or paralysis of part of your body
If you’re having a stroke, seek medical attention immediately.
How to tell if you’re having a heart attack?
A heart attack is when a lack of blood flow to your heart causes damage.
If you’re having a heart attack, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in your upper body
- Change in your heart rate
If you’re having a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
How to tell if you’re having a blood clot?
A blood clot is a blood clot that’s formed in one of your major veins. If you’re having a blood clot, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain in your neck, jaw, or upper body
- Pain in your back, arms, or stomach
- Pain when you move your neck
- Coughing up blood
- Weakness or numbness in one arm or leg
- Change in the color of your face
- Weakness or numbness in one side of your body
If you’re having blood clots, seek medical attention immediately.
How to tell if you’re having an allergic reaction?
An allergic reaction is caused when you’re exposed to an allergen.
Varicose veins are common and usually harmless. If you have a lot of them, you should speak to your doctor.
With treatment, you can reduce the size of your varicose veins and improve your symptoms.
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