If you have unsightly varicose veins in your legs, you might be wondering why you have them, but friends and family members don’t. Experts aren’t completely sure why the walls of some people’s veins stretch, or why the valves in particular veins become faulty, causing blood to pool and veins to visibly bulge through your skin.
Varicose veins sometimes occur for no apparent reason; however, there are certain risk factors that provide clues as to why some people get varicose veins and others don’t.
Dr. Johnny Serrano is a highly regarded surgeon and vein expert who offers innovative treatments for varicose veins at his practice, Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy, in Glendale, Arizona. Dr. Serrano often begins with the most conservative, noninvasive treatments, then recommends a variety of minimally invasive, in-office procedures that eliminate stubborn varicose veins.
Take a few minutes to learn about risk factors that could be causing your varicose veins.
Assess your risk factors for varicose veins
If you’re perplexed with those purplish, twisted veins in your legs, there could be underlying causes working against you. There are many different factors linked to a higher risk of developing varicose veins, including:
- Being female
- Taking birth control pills
- Undergoing hormone replacement therapy
- Being genetically predisposed to varicose veins
- Being overweight or obese
- Being over 50 years old
- Going through menopause
- Standing for long periods of time
As you can see, several of these risk factors are unique to women, which is perhaps why more women get varicose veins than men.
Why anyone gets varicose veins
When you stand on your feet for long periods of time, your blood doesn’t flow as well as it does when you’re moving around, and gravity works against you. Varicose veins often form in your legs because those veins are the farthest from your heart. The veins in your legs work against gravity to return the blood back to your heart so it can continue to be recirculated.
Healthy vein walls are flexible, but they can stretch out as you get older or if you’re in a high-risk category. Tiny valves in your veins can become weak or damaged from the pressure of being overweight, pregnant, or standing many hours a day at your job.
When vein valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backwards and pool in the vein. This puts more pressure on vein walls and can cause them to stretch or twist, which is often how they look when you see varicose veins bulging through your skin.
So, while there’s not a definitive answer as to why some people get varicose veins and others don’t, there are certainly elements that can stack against you — especially if varicose veins run in your family.
Varicose vein solutions
Existing varicose veins won’t disappear overnight, but there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent new varicose veins from forming.
If you’re pregnant, elevate your feet when you sit down, whenever possible. If you’re overweight, lose those extra pounds by walking more or participating in a low-impact activity that helps improve your circulation, such as yoga, swimming, or aerobics.
Eat healthier, high-fiber foods, avoid salt, and change your position from standing to sitting regularly. Compression stockings also squeeze your lower legs to encourage blood flow to your heart more easily. Compression stockings can help relieve the discomfort and swelling that often comes with varicose veins.
Minimally invasive treatments
In addition to lifestyle changes, you have several options for treating existing varicose veins. Dr. Serrano routinely performs the following in-office, minimally invasive vein treatments for men and women who want to make varicose veins disappear for health and cosmetic reasons:
- Chemical ablation
- Radiofrequency ablation
Each of these techniques are easily tolerated, with little to no pain, and requires just a short downtime, though you’ll most likely need to wear compression stockings after your vein therapy.
While it may not always be clear as to why you developed varicose veins, take comfort in knowing there’s something you can do about them. If your varicose veins bother you, call our office at 602-393-1304 to schedule a consultation. Or, request an appointment through our online booking system.