What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins (varicosities) are bulging, abnormally enlarged veins near the surface of the skin, commonly found in the legs or pelvis area. The failure of these veins to circulate blood properly causes blood to pool within the vein. Each vein has a series of valves, which are designed to prevent blood from flowing backwards. When these malfunction they allow blood to collect creating pressure inside the vein and form protruding, unsightly veins that are often accompanied by discomfort or pain.
What are spider veins?
What causes varicose and spider veins?
How common are varicose and spider veins?
What are common symptoms of varicose veins?
What factors can affect varicose and spider veins?
Factors that may accelerate the appearance of varicose and spider veins are:
- Obesity – Excess weight puts extra pressure and strain on blood vessels throughout the legs, which can cause the appearance of varicose veins to worsen and/or increase.
- Aging – With advancing age, the elasticity of the vein decreases and the smooth muscle layer begins to degenerate, leaving a weakened vein that is more likely to develop into a problem varicose vein.
- Prolonged Sitting/Standing – Long periods of standing or sitting leads to increased venous pressure due to lack of circulation that can weaken vein walls.
- Constipation – Any excessive straining creates an increase in venous pressure, chronic constipation can worsen existing venous conditions.
- Leg Trauma – Because the blood flow from within the legs is compromised, circulation to the skin is poor and any damage can take longer to heal due to lack of oxygen circulated to the damaged area.
- Pregnancy, Hormone Therapy, Birth Control – Changes in hormone levels can cause vein walls and valves to become more pliable and distend, creating varicose or spider veins.
- High Heels/Tight Clothing – Leg circulation is aided by the full contraction of the calve muscle. The wearing of high heels and tight clothing may prevent venous emptying and cause leg aching or tiredness and can worsen appearance of varicose and spider veins.