Varicose veins appear as bulging, bluish cords running just below the surface of your skin. They typically and most commonly affect the legs and feet. When varicose veins become inflamed, they can become tender to the touch and can hinder circulation. This causes itchy skin, swollen ankles, and aching in the affected limb.
To help circulate blood from the lungs to all parts of the body, your arteries have thick layers of muscle or elastic tissue. In order to push blood back to your heart, your veins rely mainly on surrounding muscle and a network of one-way valves. These cup-like valves open to allow blood through and then close to prevent backflow.
In varicose veins the valves do not function properly. This allows blood to pool in the vein, making it difficult for the muscles to push the blood towards the heart. Instead of flowing from one valve to the next, the blood continues to pool in the veins, thereby increasing venous pressure and the likelihood of congestion. This causes the vein to bulge and twist. Superficial veins have less muscle support than deep veins and so, the former are more likely to become varicose.
Varicose veins are a relatively common condition and could be a family trait. Women are twice as likely as men to develop them. But what are the causes of varicose veins? What are some of the predisposing factors? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in this article.
- Gender: Women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins than men. Research shows that this could be because female hormones tend to relax the walls of the veins, making the walls more prone to leaking. Hormones are chemicals produced by the body and changes in hormones can be caused by pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, or the menopause.
- Genetics: If a close family member has varicose veins, you are more likely to suffer from them as well. This could suggest that varicose veins may be partly caused by your genes.
- Age: As you grow older, your veins lose their elasticity and the valves inside them stop working as well. One way to ward off varicose veins as you grow older is by leading an active life.
- Being overweight: If you are overweight, this puts extra pressure on your veins. This means you have to work harder to send the blood back to your heart. This can also put increased pressure on your valves, causing them to leak more. The impact of body weight on the development of varicose veins is more pronounced in women than men.
- Occupation: Jobs that require long periods of standing are more likely to predispose to varicose veins. This is because your blood does not flow easily when you are standing for long periods of time.
- Pregnancy: During this time, the amount of blood increases to help support the baby, putting extra strain on your veins. Increased hormone levels during pregnancy cause the muscular walls of the veins to relax, which increases your risk. Varicose veins may also develop as the uterus grows in size. As the womb expands, it puts pressure on the veins in your pelvic area, which can sometimes cause them to become varicose. However, most women find that their veins improve significantly after the baby is born.
- Being inactive: Sitting for prolonged periods of time without activity can cause varicose veins. Having a sedentary lifestyle is a definite precursor to the development of varicose veins. Besides inactivity, excess weight can predispose to varicose veins.
- Leg injury: This can damage the valves in your veins, thereby resulting in varicose veins. If you have an old leg injury you could develop varicose veins that leak below the surface of the skin.
- Smoking: This does not only result in varicose veins but it also predisposes to ulcers. Nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict or narrow, thereby limiting the amount of blood that flows to your organs. These changes in your veins can result in varicosity.
- Taking oral contraceptive pills: These may cause blood clot formation in the deep veins of the legs, called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
- Constipation: Chronic constipation can also cause varicose veins. This happens if you strain too much while passing stool or if you have a fibre-deficient diet. Apart from varicose veins in the leg, if you have chronic constipation, you may be at risk to develop haemorrhoids.
- Stress: Prolonged exposure to stress causes high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to circulate in the body. This can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure and muscular damage, eventually leading to varicose veins.
Varicose veins, if left untreated, can cause conditions such as Phlebitis, Bleeding, and Deep Vein Thrombosis. At the Flow Vascular Clinic, Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, one of the best varicose veins specialists in Hyderabad, is well aware of the risks associated with varicose veins. He performs the very latest procedures, such as Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) to treat varicose veins.
He works individually with each patient and advises you according to the cause and condition of your varicose veins. So, if you are suffering from chronic varicose veins, you can consult with Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, knowing you are in good hands!
For more information about the causes and treatment of varicose veins, as well as the treatment for DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.