What are varicose veins
Varicose (pronounced VAR-i-kos) veins are abnormally enlarged and swollen veins. They may look bulging or twisted, and appear dark purple or blue in color. Though any vein may become varicose, those located close to the surface of the skin, especially in the legs, are most commonly affected.
Why do varicose veins occur
All veins have a series of small valves that open to allow blood to flow towards your heart and close to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves weaken or get damaged, blood stops circulating properly and can pool within the veins. The pooling creates pressure from within the vein, causing it to bulge and protrude outwards.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins commonly appear as twisted and bulging veins that are blue or dark purple in color. They most frequently show up in the legs. More often than not, varicose veins will not cause pain. If they do, the pain usually comes in the form of heaviness or achiness in the legs, or as leg muscle cramps. Swelling of the feet and ankles or itchiness in proximity to one or more of the veins are other typical symptoms.
How common are varicose veins
Varicose veins occur surprisingly often, affecting almost three out of every ten adults. Women are nearly twice as likely to be affected by them than are men.
What are varicose veins risk factors
The likelihood of veins becoming varicose goes up with age. As we grow older, veins become weaker and less elastic, and the internal valves that control proper blood flow begin to wear down. Women are affected more frequently than men, as female hormones have a tendency to relax vein walls. If varicose veins tend to occur in your family, the odds of you developing them as well are greater.
All conditions that put extra pressure on the legs or the abdomen can increase the risk of varicose veins. These include being overweight or pregnant. A lifestyle that requires sitting or standing for prolonged periods may also be a contributing factor. Blood stops circulating well when the same position is maintained for a long time.
Why do varicose veins usually occur in legs
Legs have to bear the pressure applied by the weight of the entire body whenever standing or walking. The blood in the legs also has to fight gravity as it tries to circulate back to the heart. Those two factors put additional strain on the veins in the legs and ankles, increasing their chance of becoming varicose.
Are varicose veins dangerous
In the vast majority of the cases, no. For most affected, varicose veins will primarily be of an unsightly cosmetic concern. They may also cause discomfort or pain in the legs, which likewise is not dangerous. However, in the rare situation, varicose veins can lead to more serious health issues. Chronic back up of blood may cause extremely painful ulcers to form on the skin close to the veins. Blood clots may also develop in deeper veins. If legs suddenly swell, urgent medical attention should be sought as this may indicate a blood clot.
What is the difference between varicose veins and spider veins
Spider veins are a milder variation of varicose veins. They are smaller in size. They don’t bulge out as often and instead look more like spider webs or tree branches. Spider veins will usually be blue or red in color. How varicose veins develop, their symptoms and their risk factors are all relevant to spider veins. Many varicose veins treatments, especially home remedies, apply to spider veins as well.
How to treat varicose veins
Varicose veins can be treated using natural home remedies. These include compression stockings, creams, and herbal supplements, as well as lifestyle changes that incorporate exercise and better nutrition. Varicose veins can also be addressed using medical procedures such as surgery, sclerotherapy, laser treatments and endovenous techniques. Home methods tend to be much cheaper and less intrusive than the medical alternatives. While we have had great success treating our varicose veins using the natural home remedies listed above, everyone is different. You should ultimately choose whichever path you feel best suits you and your situation. We also can’t stress enough to always check with and follow the advice of your doctor before starting any treatment.