For many people, suffering from varicose veins are a common occurrence. This condition is characterized by swelling or discoloration of veins in the lower limbs and can often be painful. It can interfere with daily activities, such as walking or running, and the pain and muscle soreness that it induces may also affect a person’s quality of life.
Several factors can influence its development in the body, such as your lifestyle, age, gender, and other natural elements, such as pregnancy and menopause. It’s essential to understand what varicose veins areand if you’re at risk of developing itso you can take preventive measures to avoid it from occurring.
Here are seven things you need to know about varicose veins.
1. What Are Varicose Veins? – Varicose veins are large swelled veins most commonly found at the back of the legs. This condition is a result of abnormal blood flow in the body.
The veins replenish oxygen by returning blood from the tissues to the heart. But when blood flow gets obstructed or cannot flow upwards in the body, varicose veins develop.
2. How Can You Develop Varicose Veins? – The main culprit of varicose veins is damaged valves in the legs. Blood flow circulating on the legs needs to work against gravity to go upwards towards the heart, making it difficult for damaged or weak veins. Constant pressure on weak veins in the legs can eventually lead to various varicose vein complications, , which are often visibly unappealing and painful.
The muscles in the lower legs act as pumps to help the blood return to the heart. That’s why there are tiny valves in the veins that open when your blood will flow towards the heart and it’ll close to stop blood from going backward. If the blood vessels are damaged or weak, blood can pool in the vein, causing it to stretch, twist, or swell.
3. Risk Factors – Here are some risks that are usually associated with the development of varicose veins:
Gender: Women are more likely to develop varicose veins compared to men. It may be due to certain female hormones that weaken the vein walls and valves in the legs. Common practices, such as wearing high heels, can also increase a woman’s risk of developing varicose veins.
Age: The risk of developing varicose veins can increase with age, though this doesn’t mean that younger people cannot have varicose veins. It just implies that older people are more likely to have varicose veins than younger, more active people.
Pregnancy and Menopause: Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy and menopause can also increase the risk of developing varicose veins. Pregnant women have higher blood pressure and blood volume in the body to support the fetus, which can enlarge the veins in the legs. This bodily change and the added weight during pregnancy all play a role in the development of varicose veins in women.
Weight: People who are overweight have a higher risk due to the added pressure on their legs, which can obstruct normal blood flow.
4. Symptoms of Varicose Veins – Symptoms vary for patients with varicose veins. Some experience pain, swelling, or heaviness in their legs, while others only have visible signs at the back of their legs.
Signs of varicose veins can include:
Purple or dark blue veins on the legs
Bulging, twisted veins on the legs that often look like swollen cords
Ache or discomfort on the lower limbs
Throbbing or burning sensation of the muscles in the lower legs
Pain after standing or sitting for prolonged periods
Skin discoloration around the veins.
5. Are There Any Health Complications? – Varicose veins can present themselves as discoloration and pain behind the legs. However, it can turn into more severe conditions if left untreated.
Cramps: Those with varicose veins can experience severe pain or cramps in their legs, which can affect normal movements such as walking or running.
Blood Clot: Sometimes, veins that are deep in the legs can also be inflamed, which can cause severe swelling and pain. Persistent leg pain may indicate a blood clot somewhere in the blood vessels, which requires medical attention to be removed.
Bleeding: Enlarged veins that are very close to the skin’s surface may burst, causing minor bleeding.
Ulcers: Due to skin changes caused by varicose veins, deep sores can form behind the legs. Vein inflammation can cause the skin to thin out and become more fragile, which increases the risk of ulcers and skin infections.
6. What Are The Treatments For Varicose Veins? – Treatments for varicose veins don’t mean major surgical procedures or long-term hospital stays. Instead, there are less invasive procedures that may help get rid of the condition. Here are some:
Natural Remedies: Self-care practices such as exercising regularly, elevating the legs to promote blood flow, or avoiding standing or sitting for hours can lessen the pain or severity brought by varicose veins.
Compression Stockings: Compression stockings squeeze the legs to help the veins and leg muscles efficiently move blood upwards more.
Laser Treatments: Doctors send strong bursts of light onto the vein to help lessen inflamed veins’ appearance. This treatment is usually used to close off smaller veins in the legs.
Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected into the veins to help them fade and return to normal in a few weeks. This is a non-invasive treatment that usually doesn’t require anesthesia or hospitalization.
The best way to find the right treatment for your case is by visiting a doctor. An expert can examine how bad your varicose veins areand prescribe the most effective treatment to solve your condition.
7. How to Prevent Varicose Veins fromDeveloping? – If you think you’re more susceptible to developing varicose veins, you can try preventive measures to avoid it from occurring or worsening.
Exercise: Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of an obstructed blood flow on parts of the body. When you don’t have much exercise on your legs, your blood can have trouble flowing back and forth. Exercise can help rid of any problem and improve your overall blood circulation.
Watch Your Weight: Your weight can also increase your risk of developing varicose veins. Other health complications, such as blocked blood vessels or poor blood circulation, can occur due to being overweight or obese. Carrying more weight also puts more pressure on your veins, which can worsen the condition.
Avoid Salty Foods: Too much salt may result in higher blood pressure, increasing the risk of blockage on your blood vessels.
Avoid Wearing High Heels: One common reason why most women suffer from varicose veins is that they wear heels, which puts a strain on the lower limb. It’s advisable to avoid wearing heels for long periodsand to massage the legs after a long day of wearing high platform shoes.
Don’t Sit or Stand for Long Periods: Lack of movement, especially in your legs, may develop varicose veins. To help the blood circulate properly, try to walk and stand up every few hours and regularly elevate your legsbefore bed.
Varicose veins can start as a minor complication without any substantial effects on your life. However, if left untreated, severe swelling of your veins can eventually affect your lifestyle and cause severe pain.
You can take steps to prevent this condition from occurring, especially if you have a higher risk of developing this illness. Various treatments are also available to help restore normal blood flow in your veins and rid the appearance of varicose veins.
If you have this condition, it’s best to see a doctor so you can determine which would be the best way to treat your disease.