Varicose Veins: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

varicose veins-1Varicose veins are often thought of as merely a cosmetic condition. But that is not always the case, and in more severe instances they can be quite painful. This is why it’s important to understand the causes of varicose veins as well as the associated risk factors. The more you know about varicose veins, the better prepared you can be to take the right actions. Learn more below and find out about the varicose vein treatment options available at Cardiovascular Institute of the South in New Orleans as well as other areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.

What Are Varicose Veins and What Causes Them?

Varicose veins occur when the healthy valves within the veins become damaged. Most veins return deoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart. However, because of the relatively long distance from the legs to the heart, more pressure is put on the venal valves to return blood back to the heart. And, when we stand, gravity puts even more pressure on these valves. Therefore, when blood isn’t sent back to the heart properly, it can pool and begin to cause healthy veins to become damaged and misshapen. This is why varicose veins appear most often in the lower extremities.

There are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing varicose veins. Some of these factors include the following:

  • Age: A person’s risk can increase with age. This can be the result of wear and tear that weakens the valves over time.
  • Lifestyle: An inactive, sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to the development of varicose veins. Lack of regular exercise and activity can cause the cardiovascular system to become less efficient. And this, in turn, can lead to varicose veins and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Pregnancy: The changes in progesterone levels that occur during pregnancy can also lead to the development of varicose veins. This hormone can increase blood volume, which puts added strain on the venal valves.
  • Weight: Those who are overweight or obese are also at enhanced risk for developing varicose veins. Excess weight can increase the pressure placed on the circulatory system. However, losing weight can help to prevent the development of new varicose veins.
  • Sex: Although men and women can suffer from varicose veins, women are more likely to develop them. Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen can cause the vein walls to relax, which can lead to the pooling of blood and engorged veins. In fact, those who are pregnant or have had multiple births are also more at risk due to hormonal changes.

Finding Varicose Vein Treatment in New Orleans

When you notice enlarged, dark veins in your legs, consider seeing a cardiovascular expert at CIS. We can offer a diagnosis and recommend treatment options that can target varicose vein issues. Many of these treatments are minimally-invasive and are performed in our clinics with little to no downtime. If you are ready to address your varicose veins, visit our locations page to find the CIS nearest you. Put your health first and schedule an appointment today.

Take the first step toward a healthier future. Learn your risk of venous disease with our free seven-question vein assessment!

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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff