“In most cases there’s no single cause, but rather a combination of factors,” says Dr.G “We know that there’s a strong genetic component to having weak, leaky valves. That’s why varicose veins and other vein problems run in families.”
Hormones also play a large role, especially among females. This is the reason why such a large percentage of patient with vein problems are women. The incidence of varicose veins increases with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormone based birth control, i.e. the pill, also contributes. Of all the above, pregnant women are very prone to vein disease.
Symptoms Of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins may not be painful. Varicose veins can be identified by the following symptoms:
Veins of a dark purple or blue colour
On the legs, veins that seem twisted and bulging, frequently resembling cords
When varicose veins cause pain, the following signs and symptoms may appear:
- Legs that are achy or heavy to the touch
- Lower leg burning, throbbing, muscle cramps, and swelling
- Pain that gets worse after a lengthy period of sitting or standing
- Itching in or around one or more veins
- Varicose veins cause changes in skin pigmentation.
- Varicose veins are comparable to spider veins, except spider veins are smaller. Spider veins are red or blue and are found closer to the skin’s surface.
What Happens If You Ignore Leaky Veins?
Varicose vein complications can include the following, however they are uncommon:
Ulcers. Near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles, painful ulcers can occur on the skin. Before an ulcer occurs, a discoloured patch on the skin generally appears. If you suspect you’ve acquired a leg ulcer, see your doctor right away.
Clots in the blood. Veins deep within the legs can occasionally expand, causing leg pain and edema. If you have prolonged leg pain or swelling, see a doctor since it could be an indication of a blood clot.
Bleeding. Veins close to the skin can sometimes burst. Although minimal bleeding is frequently the result, it necessitates medical treatment.
Experts are baffled as to why the walls of veins expand and why valves malfunction. This happens a lot of the time for no apparent reason.
Some potential risk factors, however, include:
- Getting over 50 years
- Going through menopause
- Being pregnant
- Having a family history of varicose veins
- Being obese
The risk factors have been linked to an increased incidence of varicose veins:
Females are more likely than guys to suffer from varicose veins. Female hormones may cause veins to relax. If that’s the case, birth control pills or hormone therapy could help.
Am I a good candidate for a venous reflux exam?
If you have in the past been clinically diagnosed with venous reflux or venous valvular insufficiency then you are a good candidate for venous reflux exams. Additionally, individuals who are experiencing symptoms associated with the conditions such as;
- chronic swelling,
- feelings of heaviness or pain in the legs,
- skin discoloration,
- varicose veins or
- venous ulcers.
In many ways pregnancy is the perfect setup for vein conditions. Three main factors are at play.
The first is a matter of blood volume. Since the body is supporting a developing fetus, much more blood is circulating during pregnancy. With more blood comes more pressure. The second is a matter of weight distribution. The fetus and fluid put lots of pressure on top of the pelvis. This works against the flow of blood back to the heart. The third factor is hormonal. During pregnancy women secrete a hormone which makes the vein walls more permeable. As fluid leaves the veins it can add to the amount of swelling already present.
Other main contributing factors are obesity and standing for long periods of time. In general, anything which puts more pressure on the leg veins can damage their valves. This translates directly into vein disease.