What Are the Main Causes of Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are quite common, but their causes can vary from individual to individual.
According to studies, up to a third of adults have varicose veins. If you’re one of them, you likely wonder what exactly led to those raised, bluish lines on your calves.
As with many medical conditions, the answer can be complicated. Several factors contribute to the development of varicose veins. Fortunately, as the doctors at Center for Vein Restoration branches in the Atlanta area can tell you, varicose veins are a very treatable condition. Knowing the probable causes may help you find remedies to reduce the discomfort and unsightly appearance of varicose veins.
What Causes Varicose Veins
Your circulatory system depends on a network of arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygen-infused blood to your organs and tissues, keeping them healthy and functioning. Veins return that blood to the heart where it receives another shot of oxygen. Your veins are able to do that task because of tiny valves that shut tight and pump deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
Sometimes, due mostly to the seven factors listed here, those valves lose their strength and allow blood to backslide and expand the vein walls, resulting in a visible varicose vein. Although varicose veins may be nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance, many people find the pain, swelling, cramping, and itching associated with varicose veins an impairment to daily activities.
Age. As you age, the valves and vein walls weaken, allowing blood to pool within the vein. Although varicose veins can occur at any age, they’re most common among older people.
Gender. Varicose veins are more prevalent among women, mostly because of hormonal changes due to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormones dilate the vein walls, which increases the volume of blood — and therefore, the pressure — within the vein.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the mother’s body produces more blood to nourish the mother and growing fetus. Hormones released during pregnancy relax the vein walls, as well. At the same time, this increased amount of blood stretches the weakened vein walls and valves, causing varicose veins. In addition, the growing fetus puts pressure on the abdominal veins, which further swells the veins. Pregnancy-related varicose veins usually disappear soon after delivery.
Occupation. Jobs that require many hours standing on your feet, such as teaching and nursing, strain the vein valves, which already have a hard time fighting the force of gravity as they push blood up to the heart. So if you find yourself standing for long periods, try to exercise your calf muscles by taking short walks or pumping your ankles to keep the blood moving.
Lack of Exercise. Your veins need help in pumping blood, and your calf muscles can do that — but only if they are strong. Regular exercise that engages the calf muscles — walking, biking, swimming — strengthens the muscles and maintains efficient circulation in the legs.
Obesity. Exercise is vital for strong veins, but not just because it keeps the veins and calf muscles strong. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, too. Extra pounds adds even more stress to your leg veins, heightening your odds of developing varicose veins.
Heredity. Varicose veins tend to run in families. So if a close relative has varicose veins, your chances of developing them are greater. Inherited varicose veins typically show up earlier in life.
Those are the main reasons you may have varicose veins, but they can also be caused by a trauma or a blood clot in the vein that weakens it. Whatever the cause, varicose veins can be treated with non-surgical options like compression stockings, or one of several minimally invasive surgical procedures that permanently remove the bulging veins.
Come Visit Our Offices in the Atlanta Area
Center for Vein Restoration now operates three branches in the Atlanta area. Drs. Louis Prevosti and James Fonger, both certified cardiovascular surgeons, supervise the offices and can perform a variety of services to treat your varicose veins and other vascular disorders. Contact them today for a consultation.
Camp Creek Medical Center
3886 Princeton Lakes Way
Atlanta, GA 30331
Northside Center Pointe
1100 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Gwinnett Professional Center
601 Professional Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046