Three Things You Didn’t Know Caused Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are something that most people are familiar with – you’ve definitely seen them, and you may even have them. You might know some of the common causes, including age and lifestyle choices, which play a big part in whether or not you develop these unsightly veins. However, you may not be familiar with some of the other risk factors for varicose veins – issues that are common and that can contribute to the venous insufficiency that manifests as varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
Most people know that in the circulatory system, arteries are responsible for pumping blood from the heart throughout your body to ensure that your organs and systems get the oxygenated blood they need to thrive. Veins are responsible for transporting deoxygenated blood back to your heart for recirculation. If you consider the distance from your heart to your feet, you can understand the challenge that veins face when pushing liters of blood from your feet back to your heart, against gravity. The job becomes even more difficult if your veins aren’t completely healthy.
Veins are a network of one-way streets, and are equipped with valves designed to keep your blood flowing in one direction – up. If these valves weaken and begin to fail, this causes a condition known as venous reflux. When the valves in your veins are damaged, they allow blood to flow backward and pool in your veins. The pooling blood exerts added pressure on the walls of your veins, stretching them and causing them to twist and bulge. They eventually become visible on the surface of your skin, and you now have varicose veins.
Varicose veins can be caused by several things, but while you may think of them as a condition that only affects “old people,” there are a few risk factors you may not know about.
Fluctuations in Hormones
Varicose veins are more prevalent in women than men – 55 percent of women will have them at some point, versus 45 percent of men. This may be because of the effect hormonal changes have on your veins. Birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause and hormone replacements can all affect your veins, weakening the walls and changing the pressure of the blood inside the vessels. When the vein walls are weakened, they are more prone to stretching and bulging. Because of the extreme hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy and menopause, these times are when varicose veins may first appear. Even though hormone changes in men aren’t typically as severe as in women, they can still be affected.
If you have a family history of varicose veins, it can play a big part in whether or not you are likely to get them. In fact, nearly 50 percent of people with varicose veins have one or more immediate family members who also have them. Studies have shown that if both parents have varicose veins, you have a 90 percent chance of developing them. For women, if one parent has them, your risk is 60 percent, while in men, the risk is significantly less, at 25 percent. Experts believe that one reason for this might be that inherited conditions can cause people to have too few valves in their veins, or valves that don’t function properly. Additionally, some people may be born with weak vein walls, which makes it easier for the valves to eventually leak.
Prior Surgery or Trauma
Your legs go through a lot, and you might not realize that when you injure them, you could also be injuring your veins. Injuries to the soft tissue of your legs can often cause damage to the underlying veins – if you’re hit by a ball or another object with enough force, if you fall, or when you break a bone. These injuries interrupt the normal blood flow, and while you will recover from the injury, you may not see the results of the damaged vein right away. You may eventually develop varicose veins in the area, and may be at a higher risk for blood clots.
If you recognize any of these risk factors for varicose veins, it’s time to visit Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan for a vein screening. And though it’s true that varicose veins can be a cosmetic problem, they are also an indicator of a deeper issue in your venous system. Call us today at 212-204-6501 and schedule an appointment for a consultation and put your vein health first.