Varicose Veins: What Are They and
Why Do You Get Them?
If you are one of the many people who suffer from varicose veins, you probably want to know exactly what they are and why you have them.
Definition of varicose veins
The definition of varicose veins is “swollen, distended veins, usually occurring in the legs.” Varicose veins not only make your legs look bad, but more importantly, they are usually painful. Now you know what they are, let’s talk about what causes them.
Why do you get varicose veins?
When your circulatory system is working as it should, your arteries carry blood that is high in oxygen from your heart throughout your whole body. Then your veins carry blood that is not oxygenated back to your heart. When your leg muscles move this will help in circulating blood back to the heart through your veins. If you suffer from varicose veins though, the vein walls can become weak. These are veins which are close to the surface of the skin and they will stick out making them easier to see. Just like what is in your heart, your veins have small valves and when you suffer from varicose veins those valves in your veins are not working correctly which allows blood to clog in the vein. When this happens, the blood in the veins will make the vein bulge creating what is known as a varicose vein. This process can also occur in veins that lie further under the skin.
Future problems from varicose veins
If varicose veins are not treated or removed they can eventually lead to a blood clot or venous thrombosis. Because of the poor circulation you can experience many of the symptoms below:
- swelling in your legs, ankles and feet
- skin that is dry and itches
- skin becomes darker
- temperature changes in feet and legs
- sores or ulcers on skin (venous stasis ulcer)
A blood clot in the leg can be a danger to your health and should be treated by a medical professional as leaving it untreated can cause other issues to occur. Your veins can swell, become red and tender which can lead to pain.
Preventing varicose veins
There is not really a way to prevent varicose veins, but you can lower your chances of getting them by following a few simple steps:
- maintain a healthy weigh
- stick to a healthy diet
- get regular exercise
- women avoid wearing high heels
- take short breaks to sit down if you have to stand for an extended period
Talk to your physician about ways to improve the effects that varicose veins can have on your legs and work out a plan that is right for you and your lifestyle. Sometimes surgery may be necessary to “strip” the veins from your legs; however, this can alleviate a lot of the pain and discomfort that comes from having varicose veins.