Causes & Risks Factors of Varicose Veins
The veins in your legs work the hardest in your body, working against gravity to deliver blood back to the heart. This process is facilitated by muscle contraction and expansion and valves that keep the blood flowing in only one direction. But due to a variety of reasons, some of these veins can malfunction and allow blood to pool.
This condition is known as venous reflux or venous insufficiency, and leads to the development of bulging, ropy, unsightly veins known as varicose veins. The condition can also affect smaller blood vessels resulting in reticular veins and spider veins.
Although varicose veins are mostly considered a cosmetic problem, they can also cause leg swelling, restlessness, leg heaviness and fatigue, pain, and other symptoms, or escalate to more serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) that require immediate treatment.
Risk factors of varicose veins
There are numerous factors that can trigger the development of varicose veins, some of which can reinforce each other. These factors include:
The impairment of the connective tissue, which is responsible for the loss of tonus in the vascular walls is said to be congenital. So if there is a history of venous diseases like varicose veins in your family history, you are at high risk of getting them - especially when exposed to other risk factors.
If one parent has varicose veins, women have a 62% chance of getting them, and 25% for men. If both parents have varicose veins, the risk increases to 90%. Conversely, if none of your parents have varicose veins, the risk drops to about 20%.
Pregnancy significantly increases the impairment of connective tissue if you are hereditary predisposed to varicose veins. Even if you are not, the increased pelvic and abdominal pressure caused by pregnancy makes it harder for your leg veins to work, causing them to weaken and fail.
Another risk factor associated with pregnancy is the hormonal changes. Research suggests that progesterone hormone causes the vein walls to weaken and bulge more easily. The situation is further aggravated by the higher volume of blood during pregnancy.
Occupation and Lifestyle
Factors such as excessive sitting and/or standing, being overweight, and physical inactivity, alone or in combination, can increase pressure on the blood column in your legs, causing excess strain on the elasticity of the vascular walls.
This means that being in a profession that requires you to work behind a desk or spend a lot of time on your feet significantly increases your chances of getting varicose veins. Some extracurricular activities, like paddle boarding and resistance training with heavy weights can also increase vein pressure and bulging.
Trauma or surgery
Anything that disrupts the function of your veins and valves, like being hit a hard object or an incision during surgery, can cause blood to flow backwards and pool.
Dealing with Varicose Veins
Unfortunately, veins and valves don’t self-repair once they begin to pool blood. So once varicose veins form, the only way to get rid of them is through specialized treatment in a varicose vein center.
If your varicose veins are causing symptoms or affecting your dressing preferences, you should visit a vein specialist for diagnosis and treatment. A physical examination is necessary to reveal the origin of the troublesome veins, as well as your risk factors. A suitable minimally invasive treatment will then be recommended, as well as lifestyle changes to help delay other varicose veins from appearing in future.
Varicose Veins Treatment in Ventura & Los Angeles
When you visit the Center for Vein Wellness, Dr. Shah, a board-certified vein specialist will examine your problem areas, discuss your symptoms, and recommend an individualized treatment plan that address your specific needs.