Varicose veins occur when blood vessels in the legs become enlarged and visible along the length of the legs. The most common symptoms of varicose veins are blue or red spider veins. Other symptoms include pain, aching, itching and a sense of heaviness in the legs. If left untreated, blood clots, skin ulcers and inflammation can occur.
Causes and Risk Factors
- Age- As you age, the elasticity in the veins becomes slack. This weakness can cause blood to pool in your veins, causing your veins to enlarge.
- Pregnancy- Pregnant women are more susceptible to varicose veins. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in the body increases. However, because of the fetus's need for blood, flow to the extremities can be significantly reduced, causing your veins to bulge.
- Sex- Females are more likely to develop varicose veins than men are. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, menopause and menstruation can increase the risk of varicose veins. Finally, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can also increase the risk of developing this condition.
- Family History- You are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins if members of your family have them.
- Weight- Excess weight and obesity can increase the pressure on your veins, which can cause those unsightly veins to appear.
- Staying in the Same Position for too Long- Sitting or standing for too long can decrease the amount of blood flow to your legs. When the blood flow decreases, the veins will enlarge.
There are many treatment options for varicose veins, including surgery and self-care. The treatment will depend on the severity of the varicose veins and the location of the veins.
Numerous things can help ease the pain and keep the varicose veins from worsening.
- Exercising at least 3 times a week will help you lose weight and improve blood circulation in your extremities.
- Lose excess weight and follow a low sodium diet to help your body recover from varicose veins.
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. Elevate your legs to help alleviate swelling and try to move around every half hour.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods.
- Purchase a high quality pair of compression stockings. These stockings will help increase blood flow to your legs.
Numerous medical treatments can help treat moderate to severe instances of varicose veins. These include laser surgery, vein stripping, sclerotherapy and endoscopic vein surgery. Although these treatments are effective, many insurance companies do not cover the services because they are considered elective cosmetic surgeries. However, in some cases, the insurance company will approve treatment if you are experiencing inflammation or bleeding. Finally, even with treatment, there is a chance that your varicose veins will recur.
Although there is no proven method to prevent varicose veins, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk, including weight loss, exercise and wearing compression stockings. Avoid wearing high heels, elevate your legs and change positions regularly to help prevent varicose veins from forming. For more information, contact a local clinic like Alaska Vein Care.Share