Varicose veins are a common condition characterized by bulging bluish veins that are visible just beneath the skin. Spider veins, or areas of swollen capillaries, are the superficial version of varicose veins. Varicose veins are usually safe but can cause tenderness, itchy skin, and swelling in the legs and feet. In severe cases, they may point to possible sites where blood clots may develop.
Women are twice as likely as men to develop varicose veins and 23% of Americans have them. What causes such a common and often painful condition? Ailments or conditions that place extreme weight on the abdomen or legs can result in varicose veins.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the uterus will expand putting a strain on a particular vein on the right side of the body called the inferior vena cava. This, in turn, puts pressure on the veins in the legs. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also contribute to the development of varicose veins. If varicose veins form during pregnancy, they normally improve within the year after delivery.
- Obesity: Obesity can result in high blood pressure, which can cause undue strain on the legs. This excessive burden can lead to ulcers and skin alteration around the ankles.
- Chronic constipation: The Western diet is largely missing fiber rich foods. Overtime, the strain needed to move fiber deficient stools is so significant that there is an enormous amount of pressure placed on veins in the legs. The blood valves become slack and are unable to sustain blood movement, resulting in varicose veins.
- Family history: If you have a history of varicose veins in your family, you may likely develop them as well.
- Being sedentary: Standing or sitting for a long time is a notable risk factor for developing varicose veins. Without regular movement, blood cannot flow throughout your legs as well.
- Age: Age will naturally cause the efficiency of blood valves to diminish. As valves are less able to control the flow of blood, some blood will accumulate in the veins instead of being pushed toward the heart.
For more information on how to treat varicose veins, contact Aura Skin Spa at (415) 788-3800.