What to do about Dark & Bulging Leg Veins
Do your legs have any dark and bulging veins? Do you ever wonder if this is more than just a cosmetic problem? If so, the answer is yes.
If you start seeing dark, bulging veins in your legs, it’s best to get it looked at by a vascular specialist as soon as possible. Veins that begin to appear twisted and raised above the skin like ropes are clear symptoms of varicose veins.
Treat your dark veins today and improve the look and feel of your legs: (703) 457-9251.
This is because the faulty valves in your veins cause increased pressure in your legs and will result in the veins protruding above the skin. Oftentimes, they’re dark purple, blue, and red, and can cause the skin to discolor around the veins as well. Veins in the legs carry blood back to the heart and tend to be close to the surface of the skin, making them naturally appear purple or dark blue.
While we think of blood being red, this is because it is enriched by oxygen. After the oxygen has been delivered to other parts of the body, it turns darker to blue or purple. This darker-colored blood is sent back to the heart.
Other symptoms to be aware of that can’t be visually seen are throbbing, aching, or cramping in your legs, along with an uncomfortable and “heavy” feeling. This pain is often increased after long periods of sitting or standing. If you start to notice increased pain or swelling, or itching around your veins, this may signal a potentially more serious problem if not immediately addressed.
What else can cause dark veins in the legs?
It has been noted that changes in your hormones caused by menopause, pregnancy, or puberty can result in weight gain, sometimes resulting in prominent and dark veins. This is entirely normal and can change when your hormone levels shift again. Pregnancy can especially take a heavy toll on your veins as it causes your veins to expand due to the large increase in the volume of blood in expectant mothers.
Aging in general can also cause dark veins. With time, your skin will begin to lose elasticity and become thinner as well, making your veins more pronounced.
Alcohol use can dilate your veins temporarily, making them more prominent. This can become a permanent condition with habitual drinking. Similarly, long-term use of tobacco introduces chemicals into your bloodstream that deprive it of oxygen and cause it to thicken. Thicker blood can pool in your veins while the lack of oxygen gives it a dark blue hue.
So what can varicose veins cause if left untreated?
Recent research suggests that your faulty veins can eventually rupture or develop into serious ulcers on your skin. This will require significant treatment. You are also somewhat more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis which is when a blood clot forms in the deeper veins which are fed by the bulging veins. This can cause severe leg pain and swelling (though some may not experience any symptoms of this at all).
However, if the blood clot breaks away in your vein and travels to your lungs, this is known as a pulmonary embolism, which causes serious chest pain and shortness of breath. This is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Another common circulatory problem that can result is peripheral artery disease, or PAD wherein narrowed arteries limit the blood flow to the limbs. This leads to leg pain while walking and the accumulation of fat deposits in your arteries.
Ways to Prevent Dark Veins in the Legs
Certain steps can be taken to lower your risk of developing dark veins or prevent them from worsening once you get them.
- Managing your weight
- Keeping your body moving
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Keeping your legs elevated
- Massaging the veins
- Reducing your sodium intake while increasing your potassium levels
- Wearing compression socks
- Consuming more flavinoids
- Making exercising a part of your daily routine
Can dark veins be treated?
In short, yes; we offer a variety of treatment methods for dark varicose and spider veins such as:
Endovenous laser therapy: involves a thin laser filament inserted into the damaged vein via a small incision in the leg. Laser energy heats the vein from the inside causing it to collapse.
Sclerotherapy: a solution known as a sclerosing agent is injected into the vein causing a reaction which seals the vein shut, allowing it to shrink and disappear with time.
Radiofrequency ablation: similar to laser therapy but instead of laser energy, radiofrequency energy causes the vein to heat and shrink.
If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for your varicose veins, visit our website to schedule an appointment with a board-certified physician at Virginia Vein Care. You can also get started immediately with our new online vein screening. All screenings are reviewed and responded to by one of our doctors.