5 Surprising Factors that Contribute to Varicose Veins – and How to Minimize Them

These five areas could have a much larger impact than you realize

With summer in full swing, maybe you decided some new clothes were in order. Perhaps you took a trip downtown or to the mall to do a little shopping. You found a few outfits you liked – including a swimsuit or two – but while trying them on, you noticed something strange on your legs: dark lines. You swear those weren’t there last year, so what gives? Well, these could be varicose veins, which are veins that have become enlarged and twisted.

What causes them?

In order for blood to be re-circulated to the rest of the body, veins bring it back the heart. For this to take place, there are valves in the veins that open to let the blood flow. When those valves aren’t working properly, blood can move back into the veins, causing it too pool there, which results in enlargement and the dark color.

Varicose veins can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most common in the legs and feet because gravity makes it more difficult to return blood to the heart. For the most part, varicose veins are harmless, though rather unsightly. Sometimes, however, they can be painful.

So, why do we get varicose veins in the first place?

Genetics

You may have gotten your mother’s nose or your father’s chin, and there’s a good chance you’ll also get their varicose veins. If both parents have them, you’re almost guaranteed to get them. With only one parent with a history of the condition, women are much more have the condition than men.

Job

Does your job keep you on your feet a lot of the time? Because your veins have to work harder, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk for varicose veins.

Lifestyle

Just like with your job, if do a lot of running, walking, or anything else that requires you to be on your feet a great deal, there’s a greater probability of having the condition.

Pregnancy

As if there weren’t enough physical side effects of pregnancy, you can add varicose veins to the list. Again, because more pressure is put on the legs due to the extra weight, the veins have a more strenuous time carrying the blood, which can weaken them. In addition, hormonal changes can affect the elasticity and strength of veins. Progesterone further weakens vein walls and can make them bulge. Blood volume also increases during pregnancy, which is another contributor to varicose veins.

Injury

If you have suffered any kind of injury that involved a hit to a leg, you may have spotted varicose veins afterward. Veins and their valves do not repair themselves like other parts of the body, so often it doesn’t take a lot of damage for varicose veins to appear.

Are your varicose veins having a negative impact on your life? Lifestyle changes can help. Don’t wear heels for prolonged periods of time, avoid tight articles of clothing, “especially those that are tight around your waist, groin (upper thighs), and legs,” don’t stand or sit for long stretches without a break, stay active, and attempt to lose weight if you are obese.

 

 

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