Varicose veins are non-functioning veins that have weakened valves. The blood does not return back to the heart efficiently resulting in pooling of blood in the lower extremities. This can manifest as bulgy veins and/or clusters of smaller red and purple spider veins in the legs.
What causes varicose veins?
Heredity If you have a family member with varicose veins, there is a good chance that you might get them too
Age Veins become weaker as you get older. 50% of people are affected by age 50. About 80% of women have some form of varicose veins by age 80. Women have a slightly higher incidence than men.
Pregnancy The hormonal changes and increased blood volume in pregnancy can significantly affect your veins and cause debilitating symptoms. Varicose veins can improve within 3 months of delivery, however, they can worsen again with subsequent pregnancies. Note: We are happy to treat patients once they are no longer pregnant or breastfeeding
Weight Increased weight can put extra pressure on your veins and valves
Inactivity Standing or sitting for long periods forces your veins to work harder to pump blood back to your heart
Sun/Heat exposure Hot tubs and saunas can increase the swelling of your veins resulting in blood pooling. Prolonged sun exposure can cause spider veins on the cheeks and nose
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Common symptoms include heaviness, fatigue, pain, throbbing, itching, cramping, burning, or restlessness in the legs. However, some varicose veins do not cause any symptoms at all.
Who is affected?
About 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men suffer from some type of vein problem. Varicose veins affect half of people 50 years and older.
Do I need to treat my varicose veins?
It is recommended that you treat your varicose veins in some way, even if it is only conservative measures such as wearing compression stockings. If left untreated, some varicose veins can be associated with significant health concerns such as:
Ulcers and other skin changes
Phlebitis, an Inflamed tender vein
Thrombosis, a clot in the vein that can move to the lung or brain causing more serious complications
What can I do for prevention and to optimize treatment?