Varicose veins are enlarged veins that usually appear on the legs, ankles, and feet. Roughly half of all adults will develop varicose veins or spider veins in their lifetime. Genetics play the biggest role in the development of varicose veins, but there are other factors that contribute to them as well. Therefore, there are lifestyle choices you can make that are healthier for your veins and may prevent the development of these veins. In this blog, we will go over exactly how veins work, and what factors contribute to the development of varicose veins. In our next blog, we will follow up with ways you can take steps to prevent varicose veins.
How Veins Work
To understand what contributes to the development of varicose veins, you must first understand how veins work. The primary function of the veins in your legs is to act as a pathway for the blood from the legs to the heart. Your breathing along with your muscles contracting pumps the blood up your legs. When you move, your blood moves. When you stay still, your blood stays still. The blood in your legs is extremely heavy, so part of your veins’ function is to ensure that your blood doesn’t drain down to your feet. They do this with hundreds of tiny valves, which open when you move and shut when you’re still. Though the exact cause of varicose veins is unknown, it is believed that they are caused by damage to these valves. The weight of the blood is so much that the valves can only hold it for a certain amount of time. After that, the vein wall will begin to expand, causing blood to pool in the vein, eventually becoming visible on your legs, leading to varicose veins.
Factors That Contribute to Varicose Vein Development
- Too-tight clothing
- High heels
- Weak leg muscles
- Standing for long periods
- Hormones from birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy
- Chronic constipation
- Strenuous exercise
Now that you understand what contributes to varicose veins, you can have a better understanding on how to prevent them. In our next blog, we will go over some tips on how to prevent varicose veins. In the meantime, if you require varicose vein treatment, our vein care center can help. We provide varicose vein treatment to a variety of patients in the Mentor, OH area. Contact us today for more information on The Center for Advanced Vein Care.