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When Are Bulging, Veiny Hands a Cause For Medical Concern? Here’s What You Need To Know

It's good to know the signs.


As we age, our bodies inevitably change. Hair thins, skin wrinkles, and our bones start to snap, crackle, and pop more than our breakfast cereal. But no matter how many changes you experience, one thing remains the same: You want to stay healthy. Because so many biological changes happen in the aging process, it can be hard to tell which ones are harmless and normal, and which ones could be a sign of something more serious. Hand veins commonly become more prominent as we reach certain life stages — and they’re often a cosmetic concern. But how can you tell when they might indicate a more serious health problem? Keep reading to learn more about the causes of bulging hand veins, and when you should see your doctor about them. 

Are veiny hands dangerous?

Typically, prominent veins on your hands are not an immediate medical emergency. More often than not, they’re primarily a cosmetic issue. So why do they occur? According to the experts at Metro Vein Centers, some of the more common reasons behind bulging hand veins include: 

  • Your age: Hand veins naturally become more noticeable around the age of 55, since skin naturally thins as we age. 
  • Your weight: If you have low body fat, your hand veins may be more visible. 
  • Your genetics: You’re more likely to have veiny hands if your parents or grandparents did, too. 
  • Your activity level: Since blood pumps more quickly through veins during exertion, they may look larger after exercise.
  • The temperature: The difference in your internal temperature and the temperature outside can make blood pump more quickly as well. If it’s hot out, this may result in raised veins. 

Even though they’re not usually dangerous, many people find veiny hands unsightly, and wish to smoothen their appearance. If you don’t like the look of prominent hand veins, you can have them surgically reduced, but there are other, non-invasive routes you can take as well

When are veiny hands a medical concern?

Bulging hand veins are rarely a sign of serious underlying conditions. However, if you’re of a certain age, and your hand veins are bulging already, it’s important to know when there could be something more urgent at play. Not all prominent veins are innocent signs of aging — some should be looked at by a medical professional. Metro Vein Centers cover a few deeper issues that may cause hand veins:

  • Varicose veins: Though these twisted, enlarged commonly appear in the legs, they can also be found in the hands. They may lead to tingling, swelling, pain, and burning, and may indicate an underlying condition, like weakened vein walls, or cause blood or clotting issues.
  • Phlebitis: Phlebitis, or inflammation of a blood vein, ranges in severity, but can be a result of autoimmune disease, injuries, or infections. It may also be caused by vein damage or a blood clot. Symptoms of phlebitis include a warm sensation, tenderness, discomfort, swelling, and discoloration.
  • Blood clots: Consistent tenderness, pain, and hardening of your hand vein may be an indicator of a blood clot. If you have permanently bulging veins in other areas of your body, that could mean you have circulation issues, and may be at a higher risk of developing clots.

Before you look at your veiny hands and panic, keep in mind that dangerous conditions due to bulging hand veins are uncommon. While you should always see your doctor if you have concerns, you should also appreciate your hands for all they allow you to do. Why not show them a little love with a spring-inspired mani?

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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