What Are Varicose Veins?

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with varicose veins? Do you have questions about this condition that you would like answered? Below I will answer some basic questions about varicose veins including what they are, how they form, and what risk factors you need to be aware of.

varicose vein illustration mayo clinic

How To Tell If It’s Varicose Veins

Blood is transported throughout your body through your cardiovascular system. Without your cardiovascular system functioning properly, you would struggle to carry out normal activities such as walking, breathing, or even talking.

Veins usually appear blueish in color. You may have even been told that your blood is actually blue or purple. However, your blood is in fact, red. The reason that it appears blue under your skin is because its oxygen levels have diminished as it’s been filtered through your body. Varicose veins often appear as bulging lines beneath the skin. Many of the people who live with varicose veins suffer embarrassment from the outward appearance of their cosmetic condition.

While the majority of patients come in to my office seeking a remedy to their embarrassment, many patients also complain of the painful symptoms that come along with varicose veins. More painful symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Achy or heavy feelings in the legs (especially after standing for long periods of time)
  • Burning, swelling, or constant throbbing in legs or other part of the body
  • Discoloration or bulging of veins

What Causes Varicose Veins?

valve function in veins

The valves in your veins play a big role in developing varicose veins. For example, if the valves are not working properly, blood will backflow and can pool in the veins creating extra pressure causing the veins to bulge. Superficial veins which are located near the surface of your skin are more likely to develop varicose veins. Larger, deeper veins are less likely to develop varicose veins.

What Risk Factors Can You Be Aware Of Regarding Varicose Veins?

  • Being Overweight- Any kind of excess pressure caused by extra weight increases your risk for developing varicose veins. The extra pressure on your superficial veins can cause them to have issues with adequate blood flow.
  • Occupation- Jobs such as teachers, hairstylists, and factory workers/line production that require excessive amounts of standing for long periods of time without sitting down can also increase your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Older Age- As a body ages, certain functions that it used to carry out well seem to be much more difficult and less effective. For example, your veins’ valves may weaken and not function as efficiently as they once did in your youth.
  • Multiple Pregnancies-  Having a baby is a miracle. A woman’s body is transformed during the gestational period. For example, an increase in blood flow throughout her body is magnified during this time. Also, her body carries around an extra weight that it wasn’t accustomed to prior to her pregnancy. This combination can can varicose veins. We see the development of varicose veins even more prevalent in women with multiple pregnancies.
  • Genetics- Unfortunately genetics play a pretty big role in varicose veins. More than likely, if one or more of your immediate family members has suffered from varicose veins, you face a higher risk for developing them later in life as well. You can combat your increased risk by eating a healthy diet and getting as much exercise as possible.

If you still have questions about varicose veins, or if you are seeking out treatment that works, please give my office a call today! I am happy to walk you through the entire treatment process and answer any questions that you may have. You are not in this alone. Together we can win against varicose veins!