In most cases, varicose veins are caused by damaged or weakened venous valves.
The venous valves function to prevent blood from flowing back to your legs when it is moving upwards. If they are weak or damaged, the blood may leak back into your lower body and accumulate there. This condition is referred to as venous insufficiency, and it can cause your veins to become varicose.
Your heart distributes oxygenated blood and nutrients throughout your body via the arteries, and the veins transport blood from various parts of your body back to your heart. When the muscles in your legs squeeze, they send blood back to your heart from the lower part of your body, and the blood has to move against the force of gravity.
So, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of varicose veins, some of the risk factors, and how to treat them.
Varicose veins refer to enlarged veins that are usually found on the thighs, inner thighs and the back of the calves. They can be red, blue or flesh-colored, and they are similar in appearance to twisted and bulging cords. In some people, they may swell and protrude from the surface of the skin and cause pain. Pregnant women may find varicose veins forming around the buttocks or vagina.
Some of the factors that increase your chances of developing varicose veins include increasing age. In fact, varicose veins occur in about 50% of people who are aged 50 and above. Other risk factors include:
If your job has you sitting or standing for long periods of time, you could be at an increased risk for varicose veins.
Birth control pills and other medications that contain estrogen or progesterone can also contribute to the formation of varicose veins. All these factors can lead to the weakening of venous valves, higher rates of blood flow, or increased pressure on veins, and cause blood to flow back to your lower body.
People with varicose veins wear compression stockings as a first line of defense. The stockings steadily squeeze your legs and help veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. If that doesn’t work, one of the most common treatments for varicose veins is sclerotherapy. Your doctor will inject foam into your veins that will scar and close them, and cause them to fade away.
If you’ve been diagnosed with varicose veins, you don’t have to live with them. Contact your doctor to see what treatment may be right for you. You can also watch this video that explains how some of the varicose vein treatments we offer have helped lots of people like you.
And learn about other health conditions that affect older adults in our free guide.