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3 Causes of Varicose Veins and When to See a Doctor

3 Causes of Varicose Veins and When to See a Doctor

                                                                                                                                            Varicose veins- those unsightly blue, purple or red raised veins usually found on the extremities as a person ages. No one wants varicose veins, but did you know that in addition to being a cosmetic issue, varicose veins also pose health risks? Treating your varicose veins could be a matter of health over vanity.

This article will discuss and demystify varicose veins, discussing the causes and risks associated with this medical condition. First, we’ll start with the basics.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Movements like walking help pump blood from the heart through the arteries of the legs and back to the heart through the veins. When the blood flows down and back up the legs is impeded, blood begins pooling in your veins, stretching them and increasing blood pressure. As your veins lose elasticity they become unable to hold their form and raise to appear under the skin.

When the superficial veins of your legs are repeatedly subjected to high blood pressure, a person develops varicose veins. Varicose veins are thick, raised veins seen through the skin and can be accompanied by aching and stiffness.

Sometimes varicose veins start as spider veins, visible as clusters of fine red or blue lines under the skin. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not pose a medical risk but can be considered cosmetically unappealing.

The causes of varicose veins are activities or predispositions which increase a person’s risk of poor circulation in the legs. Here are the 3 most common precursors to varicose veins:

1. Standing or Sitting for Extended Periods

If your profession requires you to stand in one place or sit for 8 hours straight, you are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins. Standing without walking adds tremendous strain on the veins of your legs to continue circulating blood back to your heart, while sitting restricts and floods your veins with no outlet.

If you have a job like this, consider taking short walks if possible, or find another way to keep your legs moving periodically.

2. Obesity

Having an unhealthy BMI puts a number of strains on your body, not limited to the blood pressure in your legs and your circulatory systems ability to function.

Pregnancy is also a common risk factor with similar consequences from obesity. Increased weight means increased pressure on the legs. Healthy moms should stay safely active during pregnancy to ensure they are in good shape during and after pregnancy.

3. Age

Age plays an important roll in the development of varicose veins- as we get older, our bodies become less resilient and elastic. This applies all the way down to our vein

walls and valves, which rely on elasticity and flexibility to function. That means despite good blood pressure and excellent circulation, a person could still develop varicose veins as they age simply because they are naturally losing elasticity.

Complications and When to See a Doctor

There are a number of legitimate health risks and complications with varicose veins. The painful symptoms of varicose veins can include:

    • Itching
    • Burning
    • Throbbing
    • Hardening of the vein
  • Pain or aching after sitting or standing for a length of time

Inflammation around the vein and on the skin around the vein

A vein doctor will be able to advise you on the best way to treat the symptoms of painful varicose veins. You should also seek a professional if you have signs of these other serious complications:

Ulcers: Painful ulcers can develop alongside varicose veins and should be evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible.

Blood Clots: Blood clots can develop in the deep veins of the legs, engorging them and causing swelling in the legs. If you have varicose veins accompanied by leg swelling, seek medical attention.

Serious Bleeding: Because varicose veins are so close to the skin, they are susceptible to abrasions and can cause serious and dangerous bleeding.

If You Have Varicose Veins

Treat varicose veins seriously- get them checked by a doctor and if you are experiencing painful or dangerous symptoms, they will advise you on the multiple options available.

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