The veins are blood vessels that bring blood back to the heart. The valves in the veins help keep the blood moving forward. However, if something is wrong with one of the valves, then the blood will remain in the vein instead of returning to the heart. If that occurs, then a varicose vein will develop. Varicose veins are veins that are enlarged and twisted. They are typically bluish or purplish in color. Varicose veins typically do not cause pain, but some people may experience a throbbing or burning sensation in their legs.
It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of men and 20 to 25 percent of women have varicose veins. Varicose veins can develop at any age, but they typically develop in people who are over the age of 50. There are a number of things that can cause varicose veins. Varicose veins often occur as the result of the normal aging process. As a person gets older, the valves in the veins have a tendency to wear and tear. Over time, that can cause blood to collect inside of the veins. People who have a family member with varicose veins will be more likely to develop it themselves.
Increased Risk for Women
Women are at an increased risk for developing varicose veins because of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause. Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can also increase a woman’s chances of developing varicose veins. Estrogen and progesterone can cause the vein walls to relax, which can varicose veins to develop.
Varicose veins are more common in obese people. The extra weight increases the amount of pressure that is placed on the veins. Furthermore, people who sit and stand for a long time are at an increased risk for developing varicose veins. If a person stays in the same position for a long period of time, then his or her blood will not flow as well.
Varicose veins are a nuisance to deal with, and there is no sure-fire way to prevent them. However, there are a few of things that can be done to help reduce the risk of varicose veins. Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most effective things that can be done to prevent varicose veins. Eating a high-fiber diet and exercising regularly are two of the key things that people can do to keep their weight within a healthy range. It is important to limit one’s intake of salty foods. Eating too much salt can cause the body to retain more fluid, which can cause the veins to swell. Additionally, people need to make sure that they are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. It may also be beneficial to seek the help of a professional dermatologist or varicose vein specialist.
Because sitting or standing for a long period of time can make one more susceptible to developing varicose veins, people need to make sure that they change their sitting or standing position regularly. Doctors also recommend that people avoid crossing their legs when they sit because that can cause circulation problems. Additionally, women should avoid wearing high heels if they have a family history of varicose veins.