What are the main causes of varicose veins?
The human body has a complex system of connecting arteries and veins throughout the body. The arteries and veins are called blood vessels because they are tubes of muscles that let blood flow through them.
So, if arteries and veins fall into the same category (blood vessels), how are they different? Arteries perform the role of taking high-oxygenated blood from the heart and distributing it to other parts of the body while the veins carry the deoxygenated blood (i.e., the blood loses oxygen as it travels through the arteries) back to the heart to get oxygenated again or absorb more oxygen. The veins hold or carry 75% of the entire blood that flows in the human body.
Veins have thin walls; they are tube-like and rarely run in a straight line. However, if they should become abnormally thick, enlarged, or full of twists and turns, then they are called varicose veins (also known as varicosities). Varicose veins tend to occur more in the thighs and legs.
Do you think you have varicose veins? Do not be alarmed. Medically, varicose veins aren’t considered a serious medical condition. For many people with varicose veins, it’s nothing more than a cosmetic concern while for others it could cause aching pain and discomfort. Even though they are often not classified as a serious medical condition, there are cases where varicose veins can lead to more serious problems.
What are the main causes of varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur because of increased blood pressure in the veins. Varicose veins usually occur in the veins that are closest to the surface of the skin (superficial).
The are many theories surrounding the reason why varicose veins appear but the major consensus is that damaged or defective valves within the veins are the main cause. The valves in the veins are there to prevent the backward flow of blood within the veins—they ensure that blood within veins continues moving towards the heart.
Some experts believe that inherited problems can cause certain people to have fewer valves or valves that do not work properly. There are also cases where certain people are born with abnormalities of the vein wall. The resulting weakness will be responsible for making the valves separate and become leaky, which causes the valve to perform poorly and whenever the person stands, the blood flow reverses and starts flowing down the superficial veins instead of flowing upwards towards the heart. The downward blood flow pools in the veins which in turn cause the veins to twist or stretch.
Up till this moment, researchers aren’t still aware of the exact cause of varicose veins. However, certain factors can increase the risk of developing varicose veins such as:
Age: As we continue to age, it can cause the valves in the veins that help in controlling blood flow to wear and tear. As the valves continue to wear, they start malfunctioning which will result in the blood flowing back into the veins and starts forming pools.
Sex: Between men and women, women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. It occurs more in women due to the hormonal changes that happen during a pregnancy and before a menstrual period or menopause, because during those times the female hormones tend to relax the vein walls. Additionally, hormonal treatments like birth control can also increase the risk of varicose veins.
Family history: If any of your family members have or had varicose veins, the chances are you might have them too.
Pregnancy: The blood volume in the female body decreases during pregnancy. The decrease is essential because it supports the baby’s growth, but it can also enlarge the veins in the legs.
Obesity: When you are overweight, it adds or puts more pressure on the veins.
Lifestyle: Sitting or standing for long decreases blood circulation. Also, wearing restrictive clothing like pants with tight waistbands or girdles can decrease blood flow. Additionally, people who use or smoke tobacco products are more likely to develop varicose veins.
Health: Certain conditions such as certain tumours or severe constipation can increase the pressure in the veins.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Not sure if you have varicose veins? In this section, you’ll find some of the most common symptoms:
- Colour changes in the skin and ulcer
- Sore on the legs
- Sensation in the legs, such as a burning, aching, and or a heavy feeling
- Bulging veins
Severe varicose veins often lead to long-term mild swelling which can cause more serious tissue and skin problems—including non-healing sores and ulcers.
It’s recommended that you always talk to your healthcare provider and if possible, ask for a diagnosis before concluding that you have varicose veins because the symptoms can resemble or mimic other medical problems or conditions.
How to treat varicose veins
Medical treatments are often not necessary when there are no symptoms. However, if varicose veins are not treated on time, its effect may worsen.
Some of the most common ways to treat or cure varicose veins include:
Elevation of the legs: your healthcare provider may instruct you to raise your feet above your heart level 3 to 4 times for 15 minutes each time daily. Elevating the legs helps in reducing leg swelling as well as relieving you of other symptoms. Additionally, if you find yourself in a position where you must sit or stand for a long period then you should bend your knees occasionally to help with the blood flow.
Sclerotherapy: For this treatment method, a saline (salt) or chemical solution is injected into the varicose veins to stop them from carrying blood.
Thermal ablation: In thermal ablation, radio-frequency energy or lasers are used to treat varicose veins. In this technique, a tiny fibre is inserted into the varicose veins via the catheter and then radio-frequency energy, or lasers are used to deliver heat which destroys the walls of the varicose veins.
Compression stockings: Elastic stockings are used to squeeze the veins and prevent the blood from pooling. Compression stockings are effective when worn daily.
Micro phlebectomy: In this method, incisions (small cuts) are made on the skin and then special tools are used to remove the varicose veins by inserting them through the incisions. The technique can be carried out alone or together with vein stripping.
Veins stripping: This is simply a surgery procedure that’s used to remove varicose veins.
However, if you are in search of a medical treatment method that’s safe and can also treat varicose veins then you should try phototherapy (light therapy)—you can start treating your varicose veins immediately if you buy the blue light therapy pen for varicose veins now.