The failing valves cause reversed flow of blood in the veins. What symptoms people get are due to this reversed flow of blood. This phenomenon is called venous reflux disease, venous incompetence, venous hypertension, or chronic venous insufficiency.
One of the signs of this pathological process is formation of varicose veins. For many people, their first encounter with varicose veins is a cosmetic issue. Dark, twisted, gnarled veins appear on their legs yet in most cases there are no other symptoms. But, not everyone develops varicose veins.
Other signs and symptoms include pain, skin ulcers, skin discoloration, restlessness of legs, tired legs, and other problems associated with venous reflux disease. Indeed these symptoms and signs may be present where someone does not have visible varicose veins. It is, therefore, possible to have venous reflux disease without visible varicose veins. Indeed in such cases, varicose veins are present under the skin, just not visible to the naked eye.
There’s no way to prevent varicose veins if you’re in the part of the population that’s susceptible to the condition. However, understanding the reasons they form, as well as knowing which risk factors you bring to the table can help you reduce the chances or the severity of forming these unsightly blood vessels.
Whether you’re unhappy with the appearance of varicose veins or they’re creating other health problems, Dr. Clement Banda and our team at MD Vein & Skin Specialists are standing by to help.
How veins become varicose
Knowing the role that veins play in your body helps to explain varicosity as well as why your legs are most affected. Arteries supply blood to your body, while veins return blood to the heart to be resupplied with oxygen by the lungs and cleansed by the spleen, liver, and kidneys.
To assist the one-way movement of blood back to the heart, veins have a series of valves along their length that act as backflow preventers. In your legs, these work against gravity to move blood up toward your chest.
When a valve fails, blood starts to pool below this point, pressing on and stretching vein walls. This creates the backward flow called venous reflux. The reflux, in turn, is what may cause the visible bulging and twisted shapes of varicose veins. Over time, vein failure and blood pooling get worse.
Common risk factors for varicose veins
The hormonal changes that are naturally part of a woman’s life often tend to relax vein walls, making varicose veins slightly more common in women than in men. Other common risk factors include:
Your body shows the effects of age virtually everywhere, and your veins are no exception. Wear and tear take a toll on those vein walls, causing valve failure.
If varicose veins run in your family, then you’re more likely to develop the same condition.
Excess body weight
Carrying extra weight puts more strain on your circulatory system in general. The causes of varicose veins are therefore magnified if you’re carrying extra weight. You can reduce your risk by achieving a healthy body weight, and even moderate weight loss
Sitting or standing
Since venous blood flow depends on muscle contractions from ordinary movement, people with jobs that require long periods of sitting or standing may be more susceptible to varicose veins. Making the effort to stretch and change positions frequently could reduce your risk.
Dr. Banda can treat both the appearance and physical effects of varicose veins. The first step is up to you. Contact MD Vein & Skin Specialists by phone or request your appointment using the online scheduling tool. There’s no need to live with the look or discomfort of varicose veins. Schedule your consultation now.