Varicose veins occur when the superficial leg veins become enlarged and overfilled with blood due to dysfunctional valves. The condition affects approximately 40 percent of all adults with a greater likelihood in women. Symptoms are common and often under-reported due to lack of awareness or even embarrassment. However, because untreated vein disease can have significant long-term consequences, patients should be aware of the most common symptoms experienced:
- Leg pain
- Restless legs
- Leg cramps
- Skin discoloration or leg ulcerations
In advanced cases, active or healed ulcers can be present on the ankles or shins over diseased veins. These areas are at risk for non-healing, infection, and bleeding when left untreated. It is important to understand that varicose veins are not always visible and long term effects from untreated disease can still be serious. Because of this concern, any unexplained leg symptoms should be evaluated by a qualified vein specialist.