What exactly are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are leg veins that do not pump blood effectively up the legs to the heart. They are often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either or both legs. All veins contain small valves that propel blood up the body towards the heart.
Sometimes these valves don’t work properly, so the blood that is meant to be pushed towards the heart moves or “leaks” downwards due to gravity. The extra pressure inside the veins causes them to bulge. This is what causes varicose veins to enlarge and to take on the bluish-purple colour of deoxygenated blood.
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins have many possible causes, including:
Both men and women experience varicose veins; however, women seem to be at greater risk, this could be due to hormones, pregnancy and/or genetics.
Other patients include those whose occupations involve standing on their feet all day e.g. tradesmen, truck drivers, hairdressers, retail staff and factory workers. These people will often have a higher risk of developing varicose veins.
What makes varicose veins worse?
Left untreated, varicose veins do carry medical risks. If the “leak” in these veins is severe, over time it can cause inflammation to the surrounding skin.
If you are experiencing vein pain, avoid exposure to excessive heat e.g. hot tubs, spas, or saunas. Heat increases inflammation and swelling of the vein. Varicose veins are large and can become fragile. Excessive heat can rupture the veins and cause heavy bleeding inside the leg.
What makes varicose veins better?
Treatment is the best way to reduce the symptoms and risks related to varicose veins. Every case is different, so we tailor our treatments to your unique case. Because varicose veins are a medical concern, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a doctor.
Can I prevent varicose veins?
To prevent or alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins, it is recommended that you wear compression stockings during prolonged periods of sitting or standing and maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.