What Are the Causes of Varicose Veins?
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body’s tissues. Veins return blood from your body to your heart so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. This is accomplished by muscle contractions in your lower legs – which act as pumps – toned, elastic vein walls that help blood return and tiny one-way valves in your veins. The valves open as blood flows toward your heart and close to stop blood from flowing backward.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins malfunction. As you get older your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch preventing the valves from working properly. When that happens, blood that should be moving toward your heart may flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose.
Are there any Factors that might put me at Risk for Varicose Veins ?
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
- Hereditary/Genetic Factors.
- Age: Varicose veins usually appear between ages 30 and 70 and once present get progressively worse with time.
- Gender: Women are twice as likely as men are to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre menstruation and menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls.
- Obesity: Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
- Standing for long periods of time. Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.