Most of us want to look good with whatever clothes we put on. Looking good can also make us feel good about ourselves, which then boosts our confidence. Unfortunately, bulging of veins can happen to anyone due to different causes.
If you’re like many people who endure varicose veins, you may not like how they make your legs look. You may feel self-conscious, not wanting other people to notice them.
You may be surprised to learn that this is not just a cosmetic issue. It can lead to more serious health problems, and if your swollen veins are painful, you mustn’t ignore them.
What is Vasculitis?
Vasculitis is a general term for various conditions that cause swelling in your blood vessels. The swelling is the cause why the walls of the blood vessels thicken, which reduces the width of the passageway through the vessel. Vessels of all sizes are affected The specific blood vessels affected are arteries, veins, and the tiniest of these known as capillaries.
In addition, vasculitis can affect people at any age. It results in alterations in the walls of blood vessels, which may include scarring, weakening, thickening, and narrowing. Some forms affect blood vessels that provide specific organs like your skin, eyes, or brain.
Vasculitis can be chronic and long-term or acute and short-term. In other cases, the organs in the body may be affected, especially if they are not given enough nutrient and oxygen-rich blood, causing organ damage and sometimes death.
Depending on the type you are experiencing, you may get better without treatment. However, most types require medications to stop the inflammation and prevent flare-ups.
Causes of Swollen Blood Vessels
Unfortunately, doctors have no knowledge of the causes of many cases of vasculitis. For example, it might be associated with an allergic reaction to a medication.
You can also acquire it after having an infection that sets off an unusual response in your immune system, which damages your blood vessels. The immune system (the system that keeps our bodies healthy) plays a major role.
Nonetheless, while the immune system usually works in protecting the body, it can sometimes become “overactive” and end up attacking other parts of the body. For instance, in most cases of vasculitis, something can be the reason for an immune or “allergic” reaction in the blood vessel walls. Substances that lead to allergic reactions are called antigens. Usually, certain medications or illnesses can act as antigens and start this process.
The issue of swollen blood vessels also may be connected with immune system diseases that you’ve had for months or years, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Sjögren’s syndrome.
Symptoms of Vasculitis
Found below are signs and symptoms of most types of vasculitis are:
- Weight loss
- General aches and pains
- Skin rashes
- Joint pains
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney problems (including dark or bloody urine)
- Nerve problems (including numbness, weakness, and pain)
- Cough and/or shortness of breath
Other symptoms and signs are associated to the parts of the body affected, including:
- Digestive system. You may feel pain after eating if your stomach or intestines are affected. Ulcers and perforations are not impossible and may result in blood in the stool.
- Ears. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, and abrupt hearing loss may occur.
- Eyes. Your eyes will look red and itch or burn. Giant cell arteritis can lead to double vision and temporary or permanent blindness in one or both eyes. This is usually the first sign of the disease.
- Hands or feet. Other kinds of vasculitis can lead to numbness or weakness in a hand or foot. The soles of the feet and the palms of the hands might become swollen or hardened.
- Lungs. You may also experience shortness of breath or even cough up blood if vasculitis touches your lungs.
- Skin. If there is bleeding beneath the skin, it can show up as red spots. Vasculitis can also be the reason for lumps or open sores on your skin.
How Can It Be Diagnosed
It is best to make an appointment with your trusted doctor if you see any signs or symptoms that worry you. Other types of vasculitis can rapidly become worse, so early detection is the key to getting effective medication.
Commonly, the doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. You will need to undergo tests so the physician can look for inflammation or rule out other conditions. These may include:
- Blood tests. Vasculitis can be seen through certain types of blood cells or antibodies.
- Urine tests. These are to check for kidney damage. These may disclose the amount of protein found in the urine, or if there are any red blood cells. Urine tests can detect whether there is a kidney problem.
- Imaging tests. MRI scans, X-rays, PET scans, CT scans, and ultrasounds show inflammation in your blood vessels and organs. An X-ray of the blood vessels is referred to as an angiogram. A long thin, flexible tube is inserted into a large vein or artery. A dye is injected into the blood vessels through the tube. Then the dye shows up in X-ray images allowing the doctor to see the blood vessels.
- Heart tests. An echocardiogram tests how well your heart is working.
- Biopsy. It is when a doctor surgically takes a small sample of the affected blood vessel which will be studied and tested for any signs of vasculitis.
Treatment will depend on what’s causing your vasculitis and which organs are affected. Vasculitis gets cured on its own if it’s the result of an allergic reaction. But if crucial organs such as your lungs, brain, or kidneys are affected, you need treatment right away.
Lucky for you, there are many doctors and centers who can help you with the issue of your swollen blood vessels. One of the best is The Vein Center. They provide state-of-the-art vein treatment procedures to help you achieve beauty and wellness.
At The Vein Center, they are proud of their Joint Commission Accredited surgical suite managed by their renowned medical director, board-certified Dr. Rahul Sood. Many patients have experienced their services and have nothing but positive and wonderful things to say to them.Last modified: September 11, 2021