Dark Purple Veins
The Dark Purple Veins on your Legs
Varicose veins usually occur in the lower extremities. They often have a dark purple appearance, protrude from the leg, and can appear twisted. All veins contain valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards in the circulatory system. If there is a problem with a valve some blood may reverse flow and cause pooling. The term varicose means enlarged and swollen. Varicose veins are a surprisingly common condition. They affect 30% of the population, 80% of whom are women. Although it tends to occur in the lower extremities it can happen to any vein in the body. The reason it occurs most often in the legs and calves is because of the strain of standing and walking. Most people are not seriously affected by the condition. The veins may be visible and annoying but don’t require treatment.
In some cases however, varicose veins can be very painful. It causes aching and in older adults can lead to ulcers which are open sores. If you have an ulcer, you need to bandage and elevate your leg. It is important to see a doctor as quickly as possible. It can take a long time for ulcers to heal, sometimes several months.
There are a number of different surgical procedures available to remove varicose veins. In some cases this is the best option particularly for larger veins. The most common surgery is to inject a complex chemical mixture that includes saline solution into the problematic vein(s). This causes the vein to cease functioning altogether and forces the blood to travel through other blood vessels. Another method is called high tie. It makes a small cut in the groin just above the varicose vein. The problematic vein is disconnected from the main artery then removed. This improves the overall functioning and appearance of the affected area. An instrument called a Triflex device can remove several varicose veins from the affected area at one time. RFA (radiofrequency ablation) uses alternating current to remove dysfunctional veins.
Another related term is spider veins. This refers to varicose veins that are small in diameter and are found closer to the surface of the skin. They look like a spider web with thin short lines, and can be found on the legs or face. Spider veins can cover a small or large area of skin. Surprisingly the two periods of time in which spider veins are likely to appear are between the ages of 18 to 35 and 50 to 60. Exposure to the sun is also a contributing factor.
Wearing elasticized stockings can help the circulatory system. These stockings are so effective in mild cases that they can completely eliminate the pain.
People with Varicose Veins
For most people varicose veins will not interfere with their lives. The affected area may have an unpleasant appearance and even some minor discomfort but can be controlled. Some people suffer seriously from the effects of varicose veins but fortunately there are treatments available that can reduce or completely eliminate the problem.