Are Varicose Veins a Sign of Heart Disease?

Varicose Veins, Heart Disease, Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center

February is National Heart Health Awareness Month, a month when you'll see increased talk among medical professionals, organizations and the general public about the state of heart health in the U.S.

As we celebrate this month of great heart awareness, let's explore the answer to a very important and common question: Are varicose veins a sign of heart disease?

Let's take a look!

What causes varicose veins?

Your veins are the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood back to the heart, after blood cells dropped off the oxygen and nutrients at various organs via the arteries and capillaries. In order to do this, the veins in your lower body must work against gravity to get the blood back up to the heart. To accomplish this monumental task, the veins in the lower extremities use a series of valves that allow them to push blood up a short distance, then trap the blood from a valve underneath, before opening a valve above to push the blood up another level.

The process repeats over and over each time your heart beats. For a healthy heart, that's around 60 times a minute when the heart is at rest. For an unhealthy heart, that might be as many as 80-100 times a minute. For various reasons the vein wall weakens, and the valves stop closing completely allowing blood to pool in the veins, particularly in the legs. This pooling combined with weakened vessels allows the vessels to expand, but they don't do so in a regular fashion. Instead, you end up with multiple, enlarged, irregular bulges that may look like a twisted pile of rope from the outside. This could lead to many symptoms including:

And you may be at increased risk of:

How varicose veins may suggest heart disease

As with any part of your body, if the veins are overworked, you have an increased risk that valves and vessels will begin to malfunction.

When we talk about heart disease, we normally include the circulatory system of which veins are an important part, so the short answer is, yes, varicose veins are a sign of heart disease, but they don't necessarily mean that there's anything wrong with your heart. Even heart-healthy people can develop varicose veins and the less dramatic spider veins. The sister of varicose veins, spider veins may impact:

Varicose veins do more than cause physical discomfort; they may also make you feel self-conscious about wearing shorts or a swimsuit. Once formed, varicose veins, including spider veins, won't go away on their own but you do have options.

How Dr. Ahmad treats varicose veins

Many people manage this condition successfully at home by regularly exercising to relieve pressure and wearing supportive stockings to reduce swelling. However, these tactics don't actually get rid of unsightly varicose veins.

Dr. Ahmad can treat small veins with sclerotherapy. This procedure involves injecting a solution into the vein, which causes it to close and then be consumed by your body. Your circulatory system can produce new vessels to replace it through a process called angiogenesis.

Dr. Ahmad may also apply laser therapy, which involves directing a special light at the vein, encouraging it to close itself off. If neither of these less invasive vein procedures make sense for your specific needs, Dr. Ahmad may perform a microphlebectomy, which involves making a small incision in the skin, snipping the damaged vein, removing it, then allowing your body to redirect blood flow to regenerate a healthier venous system.

If you're suffering with varicose veins, don't wait until you develop painful symptoms. February is National Heart Health Awareness Month and a great time to schedule a vein procedure to feel better about your legs. Contact Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center for an appointment.

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