Varicose veins are a common problem seen all over the United States. It is a problem that affects up to 15% of men and up to 25% of women. It is a case of gnarled, enlarged veins. The name of this condition stems from the Latin root “varix” which means “twisted”. Any vein in the body is eligible but most commonly, varicose veins occur in the legs and feet. This is due to the increased blood pressure in the legs and feet due to standing and walking in an upright position.
For many people, varicose veins are a cosmetic concern. In some people, they can cause aching pain and discomfort or even lead to more serious problems. The presence of varicose veins may signal a higher risk of other circulatory disorders.
The common symptoms of varicose veins include an achy, heavy feeling in the legs. The feeling can also be one of burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, or swelling. Itching around one or more veins is also a common symptom. If an individual has skin ulcers near their ankle, this is a sever form of vascular disease and requires immediate attention.
Varicose veins are normally dark purple or blue in color. This is because they carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. They may be twisted and bulging, like cords. Varicose veins most frequently appear on the backs of the calves or inside of the leg but they can appear anywhere on the body.
The causes of varicose veins are varied. The most basic reason the condition appears is because an individual’s veins stretch and lose their elasticity as an individual gets older. In addition, valves in the legs can wear out. This allows the blood to flow backwards which then pools in the veins. The veins then enlarge and become varicose. Another factor that contributes is pregnancy.
There are a variety of risk factors that play a part in causing varicose veins. These include age, sex, genetics, obesity, and standing for long periods of time. Women are more likely than men to experience varicose veins. This is due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause. In addition, female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Genetics plays a part as well. If your family members have varicose veins, chances are good that you too will have them as you get older. Obesity puts more pressure on veins and makes them work harder to move blood. When an individual stands for a long period of time, blood doesn’t flow as well. This is true for whatever position an individual might be in for an extended period.