The real reasons you have varicose veins could be any of the following: genetics, age, weight, pregnancy, menopause and how much you’re on your feet all day.
Genetics – is the most important factor. If you have one parent suffering from Varicose Veins your chance to get them is almost 50%, if both of your parents have Varicose veins – your are almost certain will get them at some point of your life (95%).
Being overweight puts stress on every part of the body. Maintaining a healthy weight keeps unnecessary stress off of your joints that support the body, veins and arteries that provide blood flow, and muscles that help keep you moving. Some preexisting heart conditions such as artery or heart disease, either by heredity or poor diet and supporting lifestyle, can bring on varicose veins earlier than expected.
How does excess weight cause varicose veins?
Excess weight is tough on the body and putting that extra pressure on the midsection, where fat storage tends to accumulate, requires the body to work overtime to push blood throughout the limb extensions. An excess of fat storage will cause buildup or blockages within the arteries, and will also make our blood thicker causing even more pressure to be places on the veins and vessels. With this increase in pressure, varicose veins pop up in the legs, hands and other areas.
The veins are thinner than arteries and are more elastic so they can expand to push more blood back to the heart. Over time, though the walls of the veins are expanding and contracting and the valves within them become damaged. The valves that would close and open to allow blood to move through each section of the veins become weakened, and they begin to leak over time. This leaking of the valves results in varicose veins on the surface of the body. Varicose veins are not exclusive to one area of the body, but are primarily in the lower limbs that need to work against gravity to push the blood upwards. Keeping to a healthy diet and remaining active can help reduce the chances of excess weight gain beyond what is supported by your frame.
Our veins are the returning pathways for blood; the blood returns from the rest of the body back to the heart. Because our blood needs to return to the heart to pick up oxygen, valves are in place throughout the body to transport the deoxygenated blood in one direction. Our veins prevent the backflow of blood. Aging weakens the valves in our veins, causing painful vein conditions such as deep vein thrombosis or perforated veins that can cause varicose veins. The veins that were once elastic lose this property as we age. It’s almost like a rubber band that is stretched too far and finally breaks from the pressure of holding things together.
Standing or Sitting for Long Periods of Time
We know that the breakdown of body tissues happens with old age, but there are behaviors that can cause the onset of varicose veins. Depending on the kind of work you do can affect the presence of varicose veins as well. Jobs that require lots of standing or sitting for long periods of time, can cause blood to put extra pressure on the lower limbs. When were sitting or standing too long our blood can remain stagnant in one area of the body such as the legs. Unless we take the pressure off our legs sometime throughout the day, the blood has a difficult time remaining in one position.
Once the blood pools over and over again because of these prolonged positions, the lower limbs need to reroute the blood to take the pressure off those veins. Smaller veins with less pressure in them are then used and expanded. This pressure increase causes the veins the surface and cause pain over time. We have to remember that the blood needs to circulate comfortably and it’s important to elevate the legs or wear compression socks to support the veins.
Prevention and Knowing Your Body
Aging, standing too long and weight gain all put extra pressure on our thin veins and the valves inside them. The lower half of the body is prone to varicose veins caused by the pressure. When valves in the veins don’t work properly we get perforated veins. Perforated veins are one of the many painful causes of rerouting blood to the surface. The deep veins have trouble keeping to the regular flow of blood so they reroute to the topical layer veins.
This blood flow overload makes the veins stretch until they become bulging and highly visible through the topical layer of skin, these bulging veins are varicose veins. We can’t always prevent these varicose veins from making an appearance, but we can prevent the onset with healthy activity and diet. Knowing your body can help you remain conscious of what can happen when we don’t care for it properly.