Varicose veins can occur in adults of any age, but they are particularly prevalent in elderly adults.
They are easily recognized as puffy, purplish and often ringed with smaller spider-web veins. Family caregivers may just think that the discolored veins in their aging relative’s legs are no big deal. However, if varicose veins are left untreated by a doctor, they can lead to health issues that can easily be avoided.
Causes of Varicose Veins in Seniors
The veins bring blood back to the heart from throughout the body and leg veins work hardest of all. The feet are far from the heart and veins must push the blood up against gravity. This can lead to a weakening of the vein walls and the valves inside to fail. The result is that blood then flows backward and remains pooled in the legs. Because seniors are more likely to have slower circulation and more overall heart issues, varicose veins are quite common.
There are certain risk factors that increase an elderly person’s chances of developing dangerous varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. Risk factors include being obese or overweight, family history of varicose veins, sitting for long periods of time without elevating the feet and a poor diet. Family members need to check out their aging relative’s legs for signs of varicose veins from time to time.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
It’s not hard to spot varicose veins in elderly adults, but since family caregivers and senior care assistants help them with showering and getting dressed, they have lots of opportunities to notice symptoms. Varicose veins will be darkly colored, usually purple or dark blue. They will create a bumpy and twisted texture under the skin. Family members may also spot smaller veins around the larger varicose veins and redness in the area.
Beyond the look of varicose veins, elderly adults may complain about itchiness and pain in their legs. They may experience tenderness, stiffness and even inflammation. If family members are seeing all the warning signs for varicose veins, they should make an appointment for their loved one to see a doctor for an evaluation.
Dangers of Untreated Varicose Veins
The good news is that treating mild to moderate cases of varicose veins is fairly non-invasive. It includes wearing compression stockings, walking around several times per day, and sitting with the feet elevated. Regular exercise and a good diet are also helpful in reducing the severity of varicose veins. In more serious cases, varicose veins can be treated with surgical options.
If left untreated, varicose veins can trigger venous ulcers, or sores, that won’t heal well. Other dangerous health conditions related to varicose veins include phlebitis and superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a painful inflammation of the veins. One of the most serious conditions is pulmonary embolus, where a blood clot from the vein travels to another part of the body.
Because elderly adults have a high risk of developing varicose veins they need the help of their family members and senior care assistants to avoid creating the ideal conditions for them. With attention to the legs and a more active lifestyle, elderly adults can prevent or reduce varicose veins and the potential dangers they bring.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Birmingham, AL, please call the caring staff at Fruit of the Spirit Home Care (205) 617-1602.