Varicose veins affect about 40 million people in North America and up to 50% of women. Without treatment they can cause serious complications such as skin ulcers, blood clots and phlebitis, or swelling of the veins. However, there are temporary and permanent solutions available for spider veins and varicose veins.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
The appearance of varicose veins is easily identifiable: thick, twisted veins running along your legs and feet. Remember that spider veins, which look like a web of thin veins near your skin's surface anywhere on your body, are a related vein disorder but very different. With varicose veins, you will also experience the following:
- blood clots
- a break in the skin
- tender, achy, sore or heavy feeling legs
What Are Varicose Veins?
Veins return the bluish blood that your body has 'used' back to your heart. About 10% of these veins lie under the skin and are less supported than the veins running along your muscles. Valves are positioned within these veins to pump the blood up toward the heart. These valves can sometimes stop working, or can be affected by numerous factors; this will put pressure of the wall of the vein. Because the blood no longer circulates quickly, it will thicken and twist the vein, making it pop out underneath your skin. And there you have it: a varicose vein.
Pregnancy is one of these 'numerous factors.' Varicose veins due to pregnancy stem from a few causes:
- hormones: if you're genetically predisposed, hormones will worsen the veins
- increase in blood flow
- increased pressure in your abdomen
Pregnancy related varicose veins will usually fade within three months following delivery; however, future pregnancies can worsen your varicose veins.
Varicose Veins Treatment and Prevention
Preventing varicose veins isn't always possible, but you should do everything you can to avoid the hassle of treating them. Because standing for long periods of time is a risk factor, be sure to limit your standing time and rest often with your feet elevated; the best chairs for varicose veins are recliners that keep your feet higher than your hips. Regular exercise also prevents blood clots which lead to varicose veins. Additionally, wearing women's compression leggings can help to prevent or lessen varicose vein relief.
There are many treatment options out there.
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