Varicose vein inside cheek

These symptoms usually indicate a problem with your veins. If you have a condition that causes swelling, this may be the cause.

One of the more common causes of swelling in the face is a varicose vein. Varicose veins are veins that are twisted and can enlarge and become swollen. They can be in your leg, ankle, or lower body.

Symptoms of varicose veins

  • Aching and throbbing sensation in your lower leg
  • Leg cramps
  • Leg pain
  • Burning or tingling
  • Aching or throbbing sensation in your calf
  • Aching in your calves
  • Tenderness in your legs
  • Varicose veins that get worse over time
  • Leg swelling
  • Leg ulcers
  • Leg discoloration

If you have varicose veins or any of the symptoms of varicose veins, see your doctor.

Causes of varicose veins

Vascular disease is the most common cause of varicose veins. The veins may become twisted or enlarged due to blood vessels that are not working properly.

A vascular condition can also cause varicose veins. This may be due to:

  • Injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic illness
  • Obesity

What are the risk factors for varicose veins?

Risk factors for varicose veins include:

Age The risk of developing varicose veins increases as you get older.

Family history Family history increases your risk for varicose veins. If you have a parent or sibling with varicose veins, you are at greater risk.

Sex Varicose veins are more common in men than women.

Race Varicose veins are more common in white people than in other races.

Lifestyle factors Being overweight or obese, smoking, or having diabetes increases your risk for varicose veins.

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

Your doctor will check your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. They will also ask you about your symptoms and when they started.

Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to check for varicose veins:

  • Doppler ultrasound This is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to create images of blood flow.
  • Duplex ultrasound This test uses a Doppler ultrasound to create a video of blood flow.
  • Phlebography This is an invasive test that uses dye to make your veins visible.

What are the?

  • Varicose veins Veins that are twisted and swollen.
  • Lymphedema Swelling and swelling of your limbs.
  • Venous insufficiency Sluggish blood flow in your veins.
  • Venous ulcer An open sore on your skin.

How are varicose veins treated?

Vascular disease is a serious condition, but it’s treatable. The most common treatment for varicose veins is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into the vein or vein group that’s causing the problem. It shrinks the vein so it’s no longer swollen.

Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic to numb the affected area. Then they’ll inject the chemical into the varicose vein. You may need to have several sclerotherapy treatments to make your veins smaller.

If you have blood clots, you may need to have your veins cleaned and treated. A blood thinner may be given before your varicose vein sclerotherapy.

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is when the veins in your legs and feet aren’t working as well as they should. This can cause swelling and discomfort.

The main cause of venous insufficiency is varicose veins. They are the most common cause of this condition.

There are several types of varicose veins that cause venous insufficiency. This includes:

  • Superficial varicose veins (small varicose veins)
  • Deep varicose veins (deeper varicose veins)
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis

Superficial varicose veins and thrombophlebitis go away on their own over time. Deep varicose veins can be treated with procedures to remove the veins.

Superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition where your veins become inflamed or swollen. It’s sometimes called postphlebitic syndrome. It’s usually caused by deep varicose veins.

Superficial thrombophlebitis can cause pain and aching in your legs or feet. It can also cause redness and warmth.

What are the treatments for venous insufficiency?

Treatments for venous insufficiency include:

  • Sclerotherapy A minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting chemicals into the veins.
  • Anticoagulant drugs These drugs can help prevent blood clots. They often make the veins smaller.
  • Compression stockings Wrapping your legs with stockings can make them less swollen.
  • Medications If your veins don’t return to normal size, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you control swelling, such as amlodipine (Norvasc, St. John’s Wort).
  • Physical therapy Exercises can help your blood flow better.
  • Lifestyle changes If your veins don’t return to normal size, you may need to lose weight, eat a low-salt diet, and quit smoking.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is swelling in the arms, legs, or torso after surgery or cancer treatment. It can be caused by a limb being too small.

Lymphedema can occur after surgery to remove cancer or lymph nodes in the chest. It can also be caused by radiation to the chest.

Lymphedema usually goes away on its own over time, but it can be a long-term problem. It can be treated with:

  • Physical therapy
  • Compression stockings
  • Medicines
  • Lymphatic drainage massage
  • Surgery

What are the complications of varicose veins or venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency can be a serious condition. It can cause:

  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet, or other parts of your body
  • Pain, burning, or itching in your leg or foot
  • Sores, ulcers, or other open sores on your skin
  • Discomfort that gets worse with physical activity
  • Increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Skin infections
  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Heart failure
  • Infections

What is the long-term outlook?

Varicose veins can be treated by your doctor. Your doctor will tell you how long you can expect to have symptoms and how long they will last.

Your doctor will also tell you how to prevent future symptoms. Some lifestyle changes that can help prevent varicose veins are:

  • Lose weight.
  • Eat a low-salt diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
  • Avoid standing and walking for long periods.

What’s the takeaway?

Varicose veins are common. They can affect anyone, but they are more common in older adults and people who stand or sit for long periods of time.

Images by Freepik

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