THE VEIN AND VASCULAR INSTITUTE

Varicose Veins

A Serious Vein Disease That Gets Worse With Time And If Left Untreated, Can Lead To Deadly Blood Clots

Over 24 Million Americans are suffering from varicose veins. What people should know is that varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. They are a serious medical condition that only gets worse with time, leading to potentially deadly results.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the purplish or blue enlarged veins you can see bulging out of someone’s leg. Any of the body’s veins can become varicose but varicose veins most often develop in the feet and legs.

Veins appear in the lower legs most often because walking and standing raises the pressure in the veins of the lower part of the body. This increased pressure puts more stress on the vein walls in your legs, causing them to expand and become varicose.

What Causes Varicose Veins In Legs?

One of the causes of bulging and painful veins in the legs is high blood pressure inside your superficial leg veins.

The veins in our legs transport blood back up towards the heart. Inside the veins, there are little valves that are supposed to prevent the blood from flowing downwards and accumulating in the legs.

The problem begins when high blood pressure in the vein damages the valves, making them weak. Once the valves have weakened, blood is allowed to flow downwards.

This blood becomes trapped and starts to accumulate in one area of the vein and causes the vein to bulge. And this is a varicose vein.

Some additional causes or risk factors of developing varicose veins in legs include:

  • Having a family history of varicose veins;
  • Obesity or being overweight;
  • Lack of exercise;
  • Smoking;
  • Having a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the leg;
  • Standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Based on statistics, more women reportedly have enlarged veins than men, but it will typically affect both men and women who are between the ages of 30 and 70.

Why Are Women More Prone To Having Varicose Veins?

Multiple Pregnancies Can Cause Permanent Varicose Veins

In women, the risk of developing enlarged veins during pregnancy is high because as the uterus grows, there is additional pressure on their major veins. In turn, this causes additional pressure within the leg veins.

Additionally, the increased progesterone levels in pregnant women, coupled with the increased amount of blood in their body, adds even more strain on their leg veins.

During pregnancy, it is common for women to develop large bulging veins. Within one year after child birth their veins usually return to their normal size.

Women have a higher chance of developing permanent veins if they have gone through more than one pregnancy.