Varicose veins are those visible lines that often form on the lower half of the leg. In some cases, the lines can begin to twist and bulge above the surface of the skin. In addition to their unsightly appearance, varicose veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms like aching, heaviness and cramping in the legs, especially at the end of the day. While there is no accurate way to predict who will get varicose veins, there are factors that make it more likely you will develop this condition.
Family history probably plays the largest role in determining who will get varicose veins. If one of your parents has them, there is around a 64-percent chance you will develop them as well. If both parents have them, that risk may go as high as 90 percent. About half of all individuals with varicose veins have at least one family member with them as well.
Your risk of varicose veins goes up significantly with your age. By the time you reach 70, you will be twice as likely to have varicose veins as you were when you were in your 40s. It is thought that the older you are, the more likely the tiny valves inside those hard-working veins in the lower legs will wear out, allowing blood to pool inside the vessels so they swell and become varicose.
Women are nearly twice as likely to develop varicose veins as men, since hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and menopause may contribute to their development. However, men are not completely immune from this condition. Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek treatment for varicose veins, increasing their risk for potentially painful and dangerous complications.
Packing on the pounds can also make you more prone to varicose veins. Additional weight puts more pressure on the lower leg veins, increasing the odds they will wear out or become damaged over time. If weight gain is combined with a sedentary lifestyle, the risk is even higher. Daily exercise works the calf muscles, improving circulation in the lower legs and lessening the likelihood varicose veins will develop.
Occupations that require long periods of standing, such as waiting tables, teaching and nursing, tend to increase your risk for varicose veins. Remaining on your feet all day (or night) makes those lower leg veins work that much harder and longer against the natural forces of gravity. Over time, that hard work can lead to damaged vessels and varicosity.
Once varicose veins develop, they cannot be reversed through lifestyle changes or home remedies. Fortunately, there are a number of minimally-invasive vein treatments that can completely eliminate varicose veins and the uncomfortable symptoms that often accompany them. To learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment, contact Carolina Vein Associates at 704-684-4511.