The veins in your legs have a tough job. They need to work against the force of gravity, pumping blood back up to your heart. Unless you spend most of the time upside down or with your legs elevated above your head, your blood vessels need strong valves and pumps to keep the blood from pooling in the veins. Weak valves that don’t keep the blood moving upward or that don’t keep the blood from spilling back down can lead to varicose veins, those unsightly, bulging veins that affect so many people. A number of factors can cause the valves to weaken, leading to varicose veins. Knowing what causes your vein problems can help you take steps to prevent or reduce them or can help you decide which treatments will work best.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Things in the body start to break down as you get older. Skin loses elasticity, leading to wrinkles. The veins also lose elasticity. They begin to stretch and become larger. The valves that help keep the blood from spilling backwards become weaker. With more blood pooling in them, your veins are likely to bulge and become visible. Having a family history of vein problems or experiencing an injury to the veins can increase your chances of developing varicose veins as you get older.
Some habits can make you more likely to develop varicose veins. For example, if you regularly stand in one place or sit a lot, you increase the amount of downward pressure on your veins, which can weaken the valves. When you don’t exercise frequently, the muscles in your legs also become weak and aren’t able to provide the support needed to help push the blood upwards through your veins.
Women often experience hormone fluctuations throughout their lives that can increase the risk for developing varicose veins. Everything from pregnancy to menopause and from going through puberty as a teenager to taking hormonal birth control can increase a woman’s risk for bulging, unsightly veins.
Being overweight or obese can also be a cause of vein problems. The extra weight an obese person usually carries puts extra pressure on the veins, making it even more difficult for them to pump blood back to the heart.
In some cases, losing weight or changing certain habits, such as increasing the amount you exercise, can be enough to slow the development of vein problems and to treat existing problem veins. In other cases, vein treatments such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser therapy might be the best course of action. To learn more about your vein treatment options and what you can do to improve the look of your veins, call 856-309-8346 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Charles Dietzek of the Vein and Vascular Institute in New Jersey, today.