What Causes Varicose Veins?
The cardiovascular system is charged with delivering oxygen-rich blood to every cell in your body. This is a monumental task requiring many specialized systems including the heart, lungs, blood and veins. If your blood is the mail carrier, then your blood vessels are the superhighways of your body. Arteries carry the oxygen-full blood away from the heart. Once the oxygen has been absorbed by the cells in the body, the veins return it to the heart via the lungs. It is in this last part of our journey where some problems can occur.
The veins must fight against gravity to return blood from the legs to the lungs. For this reason, the body has special one-way valves and cell walls that are designed to keep all of the blood moving in the proper direction. A variety of conditions can cause the valves and vein walls to weaken resulting in pooling. Pooling is when blood gathers in veins, causing them to bulge.
You are probably familiar with the characteristic look of varicose vein. Their purple or blue appearance twisting and bulging close to the surface of the skin is a result of stationary blood that has collected in the veins. Varicose veins most commonly form on the inside of the legs or on the backs of the calves. They can form anywhere on the legs. Faulty valves in your veins and weak vein walls are the primary causes for varicose veins, which can develop in the legs anywhere from the groin to the ankle.
Medical Causes of Varicose Veins
A variety of medical factors (including age, weight, hormonal changes, trauma, pregnancy and genetics) can cause the one-directional valves to lose their effectiveness over time. Without the ability to keep the blood flowing is a single direction, gravity will cause the blood to pool. Pooling blood puts pressure on the veins, causing them to become weak, enlarged, and twisted. As the condition worsens, the pressure pushes them to the surface of the skin. If left untreated varicose veins can rupture or ulcers can form on the skin.