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"Are small broken blood vessels and protruding veins on feet and ankles more than a cosmetic problem?"
I'm a female in my mid-20s with no kids and I'm in reasonably good shape. I don't have any serious conditions. Recently I may have had bronchitis which has pretty much gone away by itself though sometimes it feels funny for a second in what I think is the bottom of my left lung. I also had very slightly high blood sugar. A few weeks ago, my ankles got swollen and my feet hurt / tingled a little, especially at night, but this has also gone away now. If broken blood vessels / sticking out veins on feet and ankles do justify seeing a doctor, what kind of doctor should I see?
What you seem to be describing are reticular veins and maybe a few varicose veins. These can be problematic in many people, and seem to be more common in women, especially as they age and have children. They are also more prevalent in those who work standing on their feet for long periods of time, such as cashiers and others (although too much sitting can also cause them). They stem from problems with venous hypertension, where the pressure in the veins is high enough that there is retrograde blood flow, which eventually overwhelms the valves that usually keep blood flowing in just one direction. For the most part, this is a cosmetic problem, but it can become medical and affect your life to a great degree as the problem becomes worse. For that reason, it would be appropriate to discuss your symptoms with your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to evaluate your problem and make further recommendations, possibly including the use of support hose. If the time comes for correction of these, either a vascular surgeon, a dermatologist, or some plastic surgeons will be able to help you with the wide range of treatment options that are available.
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