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Varicose Veins Diagnosis

Receiving a diagnosis of Varicose Veins

When something isn’t right in our bodies, we usually know it right away. It helps to be a good observer as this will enable us to address the problem quickly. Having a pain in the leg region is not an immediate indicator that you have varicose veins. The best thing to do is make an appointment with your doctor and have it checked out. The doctor will examine your leg(s) by looking at the color and texture of the superficial veins, then with the information you have provided, will provide a diagnosis.


If your doctor has just told you that you have varicose veins, then either you have large swollen veins on the surface of your skin or you have a group of small in diameter veins that look like a spider web. Making the diagnosis is fairly straightforward most of the time because the doctor simply has to look at the affected area. The fact that varicose veins are so visible is often what makes people uncomfortable about their appearance, and can lower self-esteem. In some cases the varicose veins are not visible.

Appearance and Severity

Varicose veins present in a variety of ways. They can appear dark purple, protrude from the surface of the skin and sometimes give the appearance of being knotted. Your legs in general may swell and standing for a long period of time may cause them to ache. The aching can develop into cramping, burning or a feeling of heaviness. Sometimes varicose veins cause eczema and in more severe cases ulcers. A severe case of varicose veins can initiate a deep thrombosis and cause sudden and severe leg swelling. Medical treatment is needed right away if you experience this condition.

Diagnostic Tools

Once the diagnosis has been made the doctor may decide to apply a tourniquet or use hand pressure to observe how your veins fill with blood. A type of ultrasound test may be performed called a Doppler to confirm the diagnosis. Ultrasound uses high frequency waves and measures the rate at which the blood is travelling through the veins. The test is also effective in detecting blood clots. The medical technician will a apply a gel to the affected area to reduce friction, then a hand held wand will be moved in a sliding motion back and forth over the varicose vein area. A computer monitor will give a pictorial image of the veins and their internal workings. If both legs are affected the test will typically last 40 minutes. The information derived from this test will help your doctor determine if the varicose veins have materialized on their own or if they have occurred as a result of some other problem in the body, such as heart issues. Based on the results of the test your doctor may suggest that you see a vascular medical specialist, a surgeon or a dermatologist.


For most people varicose veins are more of a nuisance than a major problem. Only minimal intervention is needed to alleviate or eliminate the discomfort completely. For more serious cases there are also a variety of solutions, but the key is to get the right diagnosis. Make sure you are using the resources in your area to their fullest and book an appointment with an expert today.