What are the Main Causes of Varicose Veins?
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a common condition that usually occurs on the legs and feet and causes veins to become swollen and enlarged. They may be blue or dark purple and often appear lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.
Symptoms of varicose veins can include; aching, burning or throbbing sensations in your legs, muscle cramp, swelling in the feet and ankles and dry, itchy skin over the affected vein.
Warm weather and standing for long periods of time can make symptoms worse but walking around, resting or raising your legs can help to alleviate symptoms.
Types of Varicose Veins
There are various kinds of varicose veins such as:
Trunk Varicose Veins
These are close to the surface of the skin and are thick and knobbly.
They can often appear long and unsightly.
Reticular Varicose Veins
These are red in colour and sometimes grouped close together in a network.
What Are the Causes of Varicose Veins?
In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart and is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through.
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly.
This can happen when the walls of the valves become stretched and lose their elasticity, causing the valves to weaken.
If the veins become weakened or damaged the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose)
The reason behind why the walls of the veins stretch and the valves in your veins weaken are still not fully understood. Some people can develop the condition for no obvious or apparent reason.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Varicose Veins?
Although varicose veins affect up to three in 10 adults, there are certain things that can increase your chances of developing varicose veins, including:
- Age (being older)
- Gender (women are more at risk)
- Having a close family member with varicose veins
- Being overweight
- Being pregnant
- Having a job that involves long periods of standing
- Other conditions (such as a previous blood clot or swelling or tumour on the pelvis)
How to Prevent Varicose Veins
Other than losing excess weight, there’s little evidence to indicate that you can prevent varicose veins from getting worse over time or completely stop new ones from developing.
However, there are some ways to ease symptoms of existing varicose veins such as:
- Avoiding standing or sitting still for long periods of time
- Moving around every 30 minutes
- Taking regular breaks throughout the day to rest and raising the legs on pillows to ease discomfort
- Exercising regularly – this can help to improve circulation and maintain a healthy weight
- Using compression stocks to encourage blood circulation
When to Seek Treatment?
Varicose veins themselves provide no real purpose so removal of them is perfectly safe and can be worthwhile.
Treatment of the varicose veins will depend on your general health and the size, position and severity of your veins.
Varicose veins can be treated via EVLA or other techniques according to the nature of the veins.
Cosmedics also offer ClariVein treatment, sclerotherapy and laser treatment for varicose veins on the face or body.
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