What most people think of as cosmetic could be your body’s way of signaling a deeper problem: While spider veins are unsightly at the surface, they can be indicative of other cardio-vascular disorders.
More than 30 million people in the United States have vein problems ranging from the superficial spider to the more severe varicose veins and deep-vein thrombus.
Spider veins are like the tip of the iceberg. Rather than getting a cosmetic procedure like “stripping” to make unsightly veins look better, you really should be seeing a cardio-vascular specialist to address possible, more serious, issues.
For example, deep vein thrombosis (a clot in a vein) is a serious condition that affects up to 900,000 people in the U.S. every year. If part of the clot breaks free, it can travel to a lung and is potentially deadly. Venous disease is a chronic condition, meaning the symptoms can be life-long and can progress if not treated.
How Your Veins “Talk”
It’s important to listen to your body, rather than ignore aches and pains that could be critical clues to your general health. Veins carry blood to your heart, relying on muscles and healthy valves to defy gravity. If weakened, blood can pool and clot.
So, learn how your veins talk to you. Below are some of the ways your veins may be signaling that they need your attention:
•Pain or tenderness in your legs
•Discoloration of the skin
How Your Veins Sound the Alarm
If you experience sudden shortness of breath, pain when you take a deep breath, racing heart rate, rapid breathing, and/or cough up blood, it’s time to call 9-1-1. These are all signs that a clot has broken away from a vein and travelled to your lungs.
Listening to Your Arteries
The other main player in your circulatory system is arteries, which carry blood from your heart throughout your body. Blockages in your arteries can cause heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, leg pain, leg and foot sores, and kidney disease.
There’s actually a higher mortality rate from peripheral artery disease than there is from breast cancer. When blood can’t reach your limbs, gangrene can set in and necessitate an amputation. Unfortunately, amputation greatly increases mortality rates.
How Your Arteries “Talk”
It’s estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have PAD, which can be an indicator of a more widespread arterial disease. So, be on the lookout for these symptoms of PAD:
•Persistent pain, numbness, aching, or heaviness in your legs when you walk
•Cramps in your feet, leg, or butt
•Sores or wounds on your feet or legs that don’t get better
•Pale or bluish-colored skin
•One leg feels cooler than the other
The American Heart Association reports that people with PAD have four to five times more risk of heart attack and stroke. Early diagnosis can help you avoid more serious health problems.