The young, the old, the athletic, and all the like. Although women are more susceptible, more than 23 percent of all adults are thought to be affected by varicose veins. Approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States is affected by varicose veins.
Varicose veins happen because “Veins carry the unoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart. One-way valves are present in veins to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves are not working properly, blood pools, the pressure within the veins increases straining the walls of the veins. Weak vein walls can also play a part in the stretching of varicose veins. These stretched veins can be seen and felt just under the surface of the skin” . According to the Mayo Clinic, “Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.”
The following risk factors are linked to a higher risk of having varicose veins:
Gender: Varicose veins affect women more often than males. It may be that female hormone relax veins. If so, taking birth control pills or hormone therapy (HT) might contribute.
Genetics: Varicose veins often run in families.
Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of varicose veins.
Age: The risk increases with age, due to wear and tear on vein valves.
Occupation: An individual who has to spend a long time standing at work may have a higher chance of varicose veins.
During pregnancy women are highly susceptible – Being pregnant can cause varicose veins. The growing fetus in the uterus puts pressure on the veins in the lower abdomen which increases the blood pooling in the legs. The good news is that after the delivery of the baby when the increased pressure is relieved, the varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually disappear.
There’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. Knowing your risk factors may be able to reduce your symptoms of varicose veins.