Varicose Veins: Symptom of Aging or a Sign of Something Harmful?

First off, the heading isn’t meant to make anyone with blue rope veins on their legs live in fear. But it is important to know that varicose veins are a medical, and not a merely cosmetic, condition.

Varicose veins and even spider veins are signs of chronic vein disease. When you have vein disease, you have a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot in the vein, because of poor blood flow in the weak veins. If it breaks free and travels to the lung, the consequences could be serious—this becomes a pulmonary embolism (PE), and of the 300,000-600,000 people who get DVT or PE each year, 60,000 to 100,000 will die from it. In some cases, DVT or PE can lead to a lifelong disability, or lead to chronic leg pain and swelling that will never go away.

When you hear the term chronic vein disease, or CVD, it usually refers to chronic conditions that are related to the abnormal or diseased veins. Varicose veins and spider veins are included in this, as are leg swelling and pain. But chronic vein disease also refers to the following:

Chronic venous insufficiency

Skin changes on the leg

Leg ulcers


Vascular malformations

There are other symptoms of CVD aside from the ugly veins, and it should trigger an immediate trip to the doctor if you have any of the following:

Warmth of the skin

Redness and itching

Leg fatigue that won’t go away


Rapid pulse and, in extreme cases,

Chest pain

As I’ve discussed in previous columns, vein disease can happen to anyone, at any age, including young women and men. It is hereditary, with about 75% of patients having a family history of CVD.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for varicose veins or spider veins, and once you get them, they will come back, as they are symptoms of a weakness in the veins where blood can pool. However, it is important to have varicose veins checked by doctors. While the basic treatment of wearing compression stockings can help, it is best to have varicose veins removed with non-invasive treatments such as sclerotherapy, as well as making lifestyle changes to respond to your vein disease and keep it in check.

To have your varicose veins and spider veins checked and treated with sclerotherapy or another in-office treatment, visit us at or contact us at 760-944-9263. Make sure you also visit your primary care physician to monitor your vein disease.