Varicose Veins and Hypertension
High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke. But can it also cause varicose veins?
Varicose veins aren’t merely a cosmetic concern. On the contrary, these blue and purple veins may indicate a very serious underlying medical issue. Studies have linked varicose veins with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening blood clotting disorder. Varicose veins can also cause venous leg ulcers, which can become infected if not healed properly.
Add to that list another dangerous health condition: hypertension. According to the American Heart Association, 103 million Americans were living with high blood pressure as of 2018. Hypertension increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, but it may also be the reason you have varicose veins.
Varicose Veins and High Blood Pressure
Blood moves throughout our bodies with the help of arteries and veins. Arteries deliver oxygenated blood from the heart to tissues and organs. Veins then return deoxygenated blood to the heart. Because they’re furthest from the heart and have to work the hardest against the force of gravity, leg veins are especially susceptible to becoming varicose veins. That’s because a network of valves inside the veins that are supposed to push blood upward to the heart sometimes weaken, allowing blood to accumulate within the vein walls. As blood pools, the veins pop out from under the surface of the skin, causing varicose veins to appear.
Whenever there’s a breakdown anywhere in the circulatory system, pressure builds within the veins. Known as venous hypertension, this condition eventually damages the veins, straining their ability to circulate blood. This extra stress on the cardiovascular system cripples the ability of arteries and veins to pump blood efficiently, thereby leading to hypertension.
Although venous hypertension can result in the formation of varicose veins, less clear is whether varicose veins cause high blood pressure. What is known is that varicose veins and hypertension share many of the same risk factors. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and a family history of either condition elevate your chances of developing bulging varicose veins and high blood pressure.
High Risk Factors for Varicose Veins
Other factors putting you at higher risk of varicose veins and high blood include advancing age. Veins weaken as we grow older due to years of use. Pregnancy hormones, menopause, and birth control pills also contribute to varicose vein and high blood pressure risk, so women are at slightly higher risk of developing both conditions.
Once diagnosed, both hypertension and varicose veins can be treated. Your primary care physician can manage your high blood pressure with medication, a heart-healthy diet, weight reduction, and exercise. In addition, a vein specialist can treat varicose veins with one of several minimally invasive surgical techniques that permanently remove swollen, painful veins.
Are Your Veins Healthy?
Varicose veins should never be ignored. The discomfort, swelling, heaviness, and itching caused by varicose veins are not just bothersome — these symptoms also hint at other serious vascular disorders that must be evaluated and treated. The physicians at Center for Vein Restoration will diagnose and treat your varicose veins with the latest techniques so you don’t spend another day with this uncomfortable condition. Contact us today for a consultation.