Have you noticed some dark veins on your legs, arms, or face that you hadn’t noticed before? It’s not uncommon to be able to see blue veins deep under the skin, but perhaps, your veins have become raised and darker in color. Over time you may have also noticed some other symptoms like heaviness or swelling in your legs or pain around the veins. While these symptoms may just be aesthetically unappealing or uncomfortable, they can also point to underlying health conditions that need to be treated.
Let’s take a look at what regular changes or factors cause dark veins, and when it’s time to be concerned.
Why is Blood in a Vein Blue or Purple?
When enriched with oxygen, your blood is red. Once the body parts have used up the oxygen, the blood turns blue or purple. The used-up blood travels from the body parts back to the heart through your veins.
Where Did These Dark Veins Come From?
Sometimes a vein can get dilated, stretched, or swollen with blood, which will make it appear more prominent than usual. There are a variety of reasons that this may happen. Many of these reasons stem from regular life changes or other benign factors. Some, however, might point toward an underlying issue that requires a visit with your doctor. Check out this list of questions to see which reasons apply to your situation.
Are You Going Through Any Hormonal Changes?
Hormonal changes that cause weight gain, such as menopause, pregnancy, or puberty, can cause prominent, dark veins. If you are taking birth control pills, you may notice veins that “hadn’t been there before.” This is due to hormonal shifts that increase blood flow and increase sweating.
Do You Have Thin or Fair Skin?
People with fair skin or light hair are more likely to have visible veins.
Are You Aging?
Let’s face it; we’re all aging. As you age, it is normal for veins to become more evident because your skin loses elasticity and becomes thinner. Veins also become more pronounced as you naturally lose muscle and fat as part of the aging process.
Are the Veins Close to the Surface of the Skin?
Veins can be apparent when they are close to the surface of the skin. For example, the veins in your legs tend to be more prominent because they are closer to the skin. These veins carry blood to the heart, which means that they are naturally going to be blue or purple. They may only seem to be more apparent because you hadn’t noticed them before.
Have You Recently Suffered an Injury Followed by an Extended Period of Little or No Movement?
This can cause blood to get backed up in the affected area, especially the legs. Even without an injury, lack of movement decreases circulation and brings out spider veins.
Do You Drink or Smoke?
Alcohol temporarily dilates veins, which makes them more prominent. Habitual drinking can dilate veins permanently. Long-term tobacco use also causes vein problems because it sends chemicals into the bloodstream that thicken your blood and deprive it of oxygen. The thickening can cause the blood to pool while the oxygen deprivation will turn the blood blue, causing a dark vein.
Do Your Veins Become More Visible During the Summer Months?
This is not uncommon. Not only does heat enlarge veins, but it also makes your vascular system work harder, causing veins to be more visible.
Are You Pregnant?
Not only does pregnancy bring on changes in hormones, but it also increases your blood volume by 20-40%. This increases pressure on the veins and causes them to expand. Luckily, these changes are temporary and usually subside after you give birth.
When Are Dark Veins a Problem?
Dark or bulging veins can be a sign of vascular disease when they appear alongside burning, itching, or pain. If you have these symptoms, you should consult with your healthcare provider as these may be signs that blood is pooling.
If blue veins appear along your chest, these are usually harmless, but you should consult with your provider if you drink, smoke, have an enlarged abdomen, or live an inactive lifestyle.
If the veins are dark blue in color and look swollen or distorted, you may have varicose veins. Varicose veins aren’t always a cause for concern but should be checked out by your doctor to dismiss the possibility of any vascular problems.
If you have a bleeding vein or if a vein is warm to the touch, schedule a visit with your doctor immediately for medical advice.
Options for Treatment
If the sight of veins bothers you, they can be treated and removed. Whether you choose to get treatment for cosmetic reasons or because you have serious symptoms that affect health, you have plenty of treatment options.
You may have been hesitant to have dark veins or varicose veins removed because you have heard that there is long periods of downtime, side effects, or risk involved. This is a myth. Modern technology has now provided us with simple, effective vein treatments such as laser treatments that can be performed in the office without significant downtime.
Varicose Vein Treatment Facts
- No hospitalization – done as an outpatient
- No significant downtime
- Does not require bed rest
- Minimal risk
- Men and Women can both benefit from treatment
- Professional, highly-skilled staff
- Board-certified surgeon
- Covered by insurance carriers
- Norton performs an ultrasound on the first appointment
We’ve Got You Covered
From diagnosis through treatment, Dr. Norton and the Denver Vein team is here for you. We will listen to your concerns, perform a full exam, and work with you to develop a plan to solve the cosmetic and health issues caused by your veins. We have our own ultrasound, and the doctor mapping your veins for the procedure is the same doctor that performs the surgery. All services are provided under one roof, which means that you get more care with fewer appointments, less travel, and less stress!