Varicose veins are an unsightly side effect of getting older you never quite see coming. From thin, spidery blue veins to bulging and painful veins, varicose veins can seriously impact your self-esteem and interfere with your ability to live your life to its fullest. Most people don’t even realize that varicose veins are actually a medical condition that can cause serious health complications if unaddressed.
Understanding the causes of varicose veins can help guide your journey to remedy them.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Just as with the other traits you inherit from your parents, whether they actually present themselves is dependent on a number of factors. Are varicose veins genetic? They can be. If one of your parents has varicose veins, it increases the chances you will eventually develop them yourself. If both parents have varicose veins, you have nearly a 90 percent chance of getting them later in life.
What are Varicose Veins?
To understand what varicose veins are, you must first understand the function of veins. While we often use the terms interchangeably, veins and arteries are not the same thing. While arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to vital areas of the body, veins are responsible for returning blood back to the heart for re-oxygenation.
Veins are designed to push blood back up the limbs and toward the heart, so when they fail to do so, it can be problematic. Varicose veins have incompetent valves which allow blood to back flow or pool. This is why varicose veins usually occur in the lower extremities, especially the calves and feet, though they may also occur in the hands and arms.
In some cases, varicose veins may be thin and spidery. They may seem inconsequential on insignificant, but if allowed to continue worsening, varicose veins can become swollen, twisted, and painful. Beyond being unattractive, varicose veins can also be warning signs of serious health conditions.
Health Consequences of Varicose Veins
Because varicose veins have defective valves and weakened walls, the pooling blood struggles to get back to the heart. This can cause blood clots to form, which can then travel through the bloodstream to get lodged in the lungs, heart, or brain. Blood clots in vital organs can be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention. Declots in Miami performed by Palm Vascular are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can save your life.
Varicose veins can also rupture, leading to internal bleeding or the formation of ulcers. Because the blood isn’t circulating properly, wounds take longer to heal and may become infected more easily.
Other Factors for Varicose Veins
Genetics aren’t the only factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins. Occupations which require long periods of sitting or standing, obesity, and pre-existing health conditions can weaken veins over time, causing the formation of varicose veins. Other risk factors include:
- Pregnancy, especially the second or third
- Leg injuries
- Gender— women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men
- Taking certain medications
For more information about varicose veins including your treatment options, contact Palm Vascular now.