Varicose veins are characterized by blue and bulging veins that typically appear in the legs or feet of an individual. Varicose veins can appear in almost anyone at any time, and while they usually aren’t a sign that there is a serious underlying problem, they can cause pain, inflammation, or itching. Thankfully, there are treatment methods for varicose veins.
What Causes Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused by a malfunction in the veins that prevents the blood from returning to the heart. As the blood moves up the veins, compartment doors close behind it to keep all our blood from simply falling to our feet. A new compartment door should open up to allow the blood to continue moving forward, but the malfunction causes the door to remain closed. Instead of moving as it should, the blood begins to pool in the compartments of the vein, causing the bulging and swelling associated with varicose veins. Varicose veins most frequently appear in the legs and feet because they are the furthest from the heart and therefore have the most difficult time adjusting for gravity when working to return the blood back to the heart.
Varicose veins can occur in individuals who are putting extra pressure or weight on their feet or legs. Things like pregnancy or obesity can cause varicose veins because the legs or feet might not be prepared for the added weight and pressure. Standing for long periods of time can also make an individual more prone to developing varicose veins.
Treatment and Prevention for Varicose Veins
Rather than recommending aggressive treatments to remove varicose veins, doctors usually recommend changing the lifestyle that leads to the development of varicose veins in the first place. Those lifestyle changes may involve refraining from standing for long periods of time, particularly if you are pregnant. This can reduce the pressure on your legs and allow the blood to flow more freely. If varicose veins are the result of being overweight, a doctor may suggest a healthy meal plan and workout routine to help restore a healthier weight.
Compression can also be beneficial to treating and preventing varicose veins. For women experiencing varicose veins as the result of menopause, special compression pantyhose or stockings can place a good amount of pressure on the legs that encourages stimulation of the blood and allows it to travel more easily to the heart. Sleeping or resting with the legs in an elevated position can also help the flow of blood back to the heart.
In most circumstances, varicose veins are more of an unsightly cosmetic condition than it is a serious problem. In some rare instances, complications like ulcers, blood clots, and bleeding can occur.
Varicose veins can appear for a number of reasons, and under most situations, stimulating the blood flow is all that needs to be done to get the veins to return to their normal size. Through understanding the reasons that varicose veins may appear, a more targeted treatment approach can be given.