What Are Varicose Veins?
The adult body contains nearly 100 miles of blood vessels. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins. Arteries pump blood from the heart and deliver it to the veins via the capillaries, depositing oxygen along the way. The veins return the deoxygenated blood to the heart to complete the cycle. When complications cause pressure to build in our veins, they swell and bulge, creating varicose veins at the surface. This common condition affects 3 out of 10 adults, with a higher incidence in women.
- Varicose veins are usually caused by a vascular disease called chronic venous insufficiency.
- You can often identify varicose veins by their large, raised, and twisted shape with a bluish-purple or reddish-purple color.
- Varicose veins tend to occur below the waist, since veins in the lower extremities must contend with the gravitational pull as well as the pressure caused by walking or standing.
- Different factors can elevate blood pressure in your veins and cause varicosities, including pregnancy, weight gain, aging, and prolonged periods of sitting or standing. But your genetic propensity for varicose veins plays a significant role.
- Treatment for varicose veins is minimally invasive at Texas Vein Treatment Clinic, alleviating the symptoms and any underlying vascular disease, as well as the undesirable appearance.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
In rare cases, varicose veins stem from venous inflammation (phlebitis), or from a congenital venous abnormality. Varicose veins resulting from leg injuries or blood clots, both of which can weaken vein walls, are slightly more common. But the most common cause of varicose veins is the underlying condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Arteries have no valves, since they receive blood from the heart with such force that it can only flow in one direction. But leg veins rely on one-way valves to prevent blood from flowing backward, rather than up to the heart. If these valves falter, the veins swell and enlarge with pressure, forming varicose veins. Since leg veins propel blood on its ascent, valve failure in leg veins is more likely to cause pooling and varicosity than failure in a vessel tasked with blood’s descent.
What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Some patients don’t notice any symptoms of varicose veins. But many patients visit our Texas vein center seeking relief from the following symptoms.
- Bulging veins that are larger and more twisted than healthy veins
- Swelling in your calves, ankles, or feet
- An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Spider veins clustered near the varicosity
- Nighttime leg cramps or restless legs
- Hardened skin from inflamed fat layer below (lipodermatosclerosis)
- Skin discoloration (blue or brown) around a vein
- Itching around one or more of your veins (venous eczema)
- Burning or throbbing sensations in lower legs
Who Is Affected by Varicose Veins?
Since varicose vеіnѕ stem from increased blood pressure and weakened vein walls and valves, anyone can develop them. But a family history of varicose veins is a strong predictor.
They’re more common in women after pregnancy or childbirth (especially multiple births) or after menopause. For men, the chance increases after they turn 50. And for everyone, the risk is higher if your job entails sitting or standing for several hours in a row.