What Are Varicose Veins, and What Causes Them?
Blood is meant to travel from your heart throughout your body via your veins. These veins have valves that open to let blood flow past and close off behind it. When these valves aren’t working correctly or become weak, blood is then backed up around the vein valve area causing pressure, twisting and bulging through the skin, thus creating a varicose vein.
Varicose veins can most commonly be found on the legs, ankles, and face. These veins are red, blue, and often seen as purple in color. You can see a perfect example of varicose veins at the Mayo Clinic Health System.
Spider veins look similar but are smaller in length and size. Both types of veins appear directly below the skin’s surface and are considered damaged veins.
Some of the many causes of Vein Weakening may include but are not limited to:
Standing for long periods of time-Being on your feet without resting your legs weakens veins over time.
Weight Gain – Extra pounds mean extra pressure!
Heredity – You have a 50/50 chance of getting these veins if your mother had them.
Age & Gender – Here is an interesting quote by Dr. Cheryl McDonald from NIH, “By the age of 50, nearly 40% of woman and 20% of men will have some significant leg vein problem,”
Some experts believe that these veins are nothing more than a cosmetic blemish, while others argue that these veins can cause symptoms such as; heavy, achy ankles and legs, swelling, pain, and pose health risks. No matter who’s right or wrong, no-one really wants these unsightly marks covering their body. Don’t worry, there are things that can be done to help.
A varicose vein specialist will confirm that sclerotherapy is a very effective treatment for varicose veins. This procedure involves an injection of a foam solution directly into the vein, forcing the blood to travel through a different vein that is still in working order.
According to a study found on PubMed, it is a very safe process, done in less than an hour in most cases, and often delivers immediate results.
Many specialists may suggest starting with compression socks. These special socks were made to help blood circulation by applying a certain amount of pressure to the feet, ankles, and calves. They may be bothersome for some because they are hard to get on as well as a tight fit, but they are wonderful for helping with circulatory problems.
Endovenous laser ablation is quite commonly chosen by patients for the treatment of varicose veins, largely due to it being considered less invasive. Laser lights are used on the skin where you see the vein; it then sends out powerful surges of light directly to the damaged area. This will gradually remove the discoloration from the skin’s surface.
There are other ways of treating varicose veins, make an appointment with a vein specialist, or dermatologist in your area to find out about more options. In the meantime, try to eat healthy, exercise, lose weight, and elevate your legs regularly.