Varicose Veins or Vascular Problem? How to Spot the Difference

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
February 27, 2024

More than 30 million people in the United States struggle with varicose veins issues. Anyone can develop varicose veins, but women are typically more predisposed than men. The effects of varicose veins can vary between individuals. For some, they may just be a cosmetic concern. For others, these veins come with many symptoms and effects, including swelling, discomfort, itching, pain, dull ache, cramping, throbbing, and general discomfort. 

However, these veins can potentially be a sign of further vascular issues in some cases as well. Let’s take a closer look.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Many of those suffering from this condition may be wondering what causes varicose veins. Varicose veins form due to weakened or damaged vein valves and walls, which lead to blood pooling or flowing backward (also called reflux). As this blood pools and reverses, the vein may grow larger and distort, showing through the skin as a varicose vein.

Increased blood pressure can contribute to the formation of varicose veins. There are several lifestyle choices and health factors that can contribute to their formation as well, including: 

  • Age
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Vascular disease

Let's take a look at the last point mentioned above - vascular disease. As mentioned above, varicose veins could be connected to further vascular conditions, including:

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): This condition occurs from a blood clot forming in a deep vein of the leg. DVT is commonly associated with long periods of inactivity, but some people can also be genetically predisposed. Symptoms of DVT can include pain and swelling in the leg, red-colored skin, or skin that feels warm to the touch. This can be a life-threatening condition if the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs.  
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): Also known as peripheral arterial disease, this condition is related to arteries and veins around the heart. It typically occurs due to plaque buildup in arteries. A common symptom of PVD is a cramp from activity that fades away with rest, as well as skin color or texture changes and a slower pulse in the lower extremities. 
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency: This condition is caused by damaged valves in the leg veins. It has similar symptoms to those of varicose veins, such as a dull ache in the leg, cramps, and swelling. Chronic venous insufficiency can also be linked to peripheral vascular disease. 

Varicose Vein Treatment

At the end of the day, anyone affected by any of the above symptoms should not try to determine the cause themselves. Instead, they should see their doctor to evaluate the issue and provide a treatment plan properly. 

This is especially true, being that certain conditions like DVT can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. 

See a Varicose Vein Specialist at South Valley Vascular

If you are searching for a varicose vein specialist in California, let us help you here at South Valley Vascular. As a division of BASS Medical Center, we have been helping people with vein and vascular issues since 1988. This has made us experts in helping those afflicted with these conditions. 

BASS Medical has helped over 24,000 patients and now offers six convenient vein clinic locations to make it easy to seek treatment. Our vein doctors are some of the best experts in the field, and they are ready to help you with your difficulties. If you have any questions or would like to be patient, call us at 559-625-4118 or head over to our contact page.