Information on varicose veins symptoms and the causes of varicose veins.
Select a Topic
- What are Varicose Veins?
- What Causes Varicose Veins?
- Help for Varicose Veins
- More Information on Varicose Veins
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins symptoms include enlarged flesh-colored, blue or purple veins often found on the calf or on the leg. They often appear twisted and bulging, may be swollen and raised above the surface of the skin and can become quite painful.
Varicose veins symptoms encompass any vein that becomes varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins in your lower body. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are just smaller and usually found on the legs and face (and are harmless).
For many people, varicose veins are just unsightly, but for others, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Varicose veins can also signal a higher risk of problems with circulation.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Every day the heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts. Veins carry oxygen-poor blood from the body back to the heart.
Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to stop the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose.
The causes of varicose veins vary from person to person and many factors can contribute to the risk of developing varicose veins. Causes of varicose veins include increasing age, having family members with vein problems or being born with weak vein valves. Other causes of varicose veins are hormonal changes due to menopause, pregnancy and puberty. Similarly so can obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing and other things that weaken vein valves. Varicose veins symptoms can cause also include sores, skin ulcers and rashes on the skin tissue around the varicose veins.
Help for Varicose Veins
Conventional treatment often includes sclerotherapy (for spider veins), where the doctor injects a solution into the vein that causes the vein walls to seal shut. Also common methods of treatment are laser surgery or surgical removal of the varicose veins.
More Information on Varicose Veins
Tips for the Prevention of Varicose Veins
- Wear Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Do not cross your legs while sitting and always elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin or legs.
- Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation – which can contribute to varicose veins. High fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water and cause further swelling in the legs, feet or ankles.