Varicose veins cause pain, swelling, a heaviness in the leg, and frankly, look downright ugly. 15%-25% of Americans suffer from varicose veins. Women are affected the most but men can get them, too.
Any vein, anywhere in the body can become varicose, but it is typically the veins in the legs that are affected. Some people with varicose veins have no symptoms other than the bulging veins. Others have all the symptoms and need treatment.
Varicose veins cause(s) can be attributed to many things. If you have a job where you have to stand all day and do not get to move around much, you could be at risk for developing varicose veins. The same goes for someone with a job where they have to sit all day at a desk. Anything you do that keeps you in the same position for hours and hours puts you at risk. Your muscles play an important role in helping get the blood back to your heart and if you are sitting or standing in the same position for a long time, your muscles cannot do their job effectively.
Other risk factors include, your weight, age, sex, heredity, and in some cases even the clothes you wear can play a role in developing varicose veins.
Let’s look first at the weight aspect. If you are overweight or obese, you have a greater chance of developing varicose veins because the extra weight puts a lot of pressure on your legs. This is the same thing that happens during pregnancy. The growing baby puts more pressure on the pelvis and lower body that some women can and do develop varicose veins.
Age is a factor just because after a while the body may weaken and things inside our bodies wear out and just do not work like they used to.
Women have a greater chance of developing varicose veins than men do because it is possible that female hormones weaken the vessel walls and valves in the legs. So lifelong hormonal changes, pregnancy and then menopause can all contribute to the development of varicose veins. Taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy due to menopausal symptoms may also increase your risk for developing varicose veins.
Heredity can play a big role as to whether or not you will develop varicose veins. Look at the older adults in your family. Does your mother, aunt, or grandmother have varicose veins? If they do, you will probably get them, too.
Believe it or not even what you wear on a day to day basis can have an impact on whether you will develop varicose veins. If you tend to wear tighter clothes and there is a lot of pressure being placed on or around your pelvis and lower body then you are at a higher risk for developing varicose veins.
Steer clear of girdles or other body contouring undergarments. They are a varicose veins cause because they can cut off the circulation to your lower body and put more pressure on the legs making it harder for them to pump the blood back to the heart.