Varicose veins: Know the risk factors behind twisted, enlarged veins

Varicose veins is a common condition that can affect men and women. A doctor tells you about its symptoms, causes and risk factors.
varicose veins risks
Weight and heredity can be risk factors behind varicose veins. Image courtesy; Shutterstock
Dr Vinay Nyayapathi Updated: 18 Sep 2022, 17:44 pm IST
  • 146

Varicoses, an alternative term for varicose veins, is a medical disorder where the superficial veins swell and twist. These veins often enlarge in the legs, right under the skin. Oftentimes, varicose veins don’t show many symptoms. However, some people could feel worn out or feel discomfort. But what are the causes and risk factors of varicose veins? Come, let’s find out.

Varicose veins meaning

Varicose veins are harmless in most cases. The condition’s origin is unknown. Many people have varicose veins, but they have no symptoms. They can occasionally be a source of tenderness and discomfort or a sign of a circulation issue.

Compression stockings, physical activity, or surgeries to seal or remove the veins are all a part of the treatment. Varicose veins can occasionally result in more severe issues like ulcers, bleeding and skin discolouration, if left untreated. Treatment may involve self-care techniques, professional medical procedures to seal or eliminate veins.

Also read: Worried about varicose veins? These 6 exercises can help you get rid of them

swollen veins
Varicose veins can be uncomfortable. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of varicose veins

One might be better able to comprehend the risk factors for varicose veins if one has a clear understanding of what causes varicose veins.

Varicose veins can be induced by weak or damaged valves. Blood gets circulated throughout the body through arteries from the heart and is returned to the heart by veins from the rest of the body. Leg veins must levitate to return blood to the heart.

Elastic vein walls and involuntary spasms in the lower legs help blood return to the heart. Veins include tiny valves that open to enable blood to flow toward the heart and seal to prevent it from flowing the other way. Blood can flow backwards and pool in the veins if these valves are weak or damaged, which could also stretch or twist the veins.

Risks factors of varicose veins

This issue can become more likely to develop as a result of the following:

1. Gender:

Varicose veins are more common in women than in men. Female hormones are suggested to be a key factor.

2. Pregnancy:

Varicose veins can develop during pregnancy. The lower abdominal veins are compressed by the expanding foetus, which causes more blood to collect in the legs. The good news is that following the baby’s delivery when the increasing pressure is relieved, the varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually disappear.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.

pregnancy and varicose veins
Pregnancy can lead to varicose veins. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Birth control pills:

Using female hormone-containing drugs, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement treatment for menopausal symptoms, increases the risk of varicose veins.

4. Heredity:

Varicose veins run in families. While the exact cause is unknown, one is more likely to have them in the future if one does.

5. Weight:

Carrying a lot of extra weight or being obese increases one’s risk of varicose veins. Weight gain can compress the veins, increasing pressure and straining the valves and walls. Weight loss might be helpful.

When to worry about varicose veins?

As this condition is usually painless, visiting a doctor frequently for the condition is not prioritized. However, in certain cases ignoring the condition further can lead to irreversible damage.

One must visit the doctor immediately when they start experiencing painful symptoms such as;

* Twisted or bulging veins on legs
* Blue or reddish colour of the skin around veins
* Swelling of feet that can come and go
* Legs cramps
* Itchy ankles, with or without a rash
* Legs that feel heavy, uncomfortable or even painful.

These signs must not be ignored at any cost.

swelling due to varicose veins
Swelling is a symptom of varicose veins. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The last word

While some risk factors such as gender and family history, cannot be changed, there are some lifestyle alterations one may do to halt the progression of varicose veins. Moreover, surgery is not always the only option for treating varicose veins. Sclerotherapy, endovenous laser therapy, and microphlebectomy procedures are some safe and efficient minimally invasive procedures that may be a possibility.

  • 146
About the Author

Dr Vinay Nyayapathi, Vascular Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bengaluru ...Read More

Next Story