Deep Secrets Your Spider Veins Could be Trying to Tell You
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.
“People don’t realize that spider veins are like the tip of the iceberg,” says renowned cardiovascular specialist Rishin Shah, MD, founder of Prime Heart and Vascular. “Rather than getting a cosmetic procedure to make them 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 more than 250,000 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 - Swelling
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 traveled 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,” says Dr. Shah. “When blood can’t reach your limbs, gangrene can set in and necessitate an amputation. Unfortunately, amputation greatly increases mortality rates.
”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
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