We’re midway through summer, but the “threat” of varicose veins isn’t exactly over. Sure you may have been able to avoid calling attention to your legs or maybe you avoided hitting the beach altogether because of the unsightly veins. They’re really nothing to be embarrassed about though. In fact, in the United States, about 70 percent of women and 45 percent of men experience some kind of vein disorder or problem. Varicose veins in particular, affect half of people 50 years or older.
With those statistics, it might be easy to put a few of the puzzle pieces together as far as who is susceptible to being diagnosed with varicose veins. There are actually quite a few factors that determine the risk of having visible veins in legs. With that in mind, who exactly gets varicose and spider veins? And what causes determine if you’ll get them down the line or not?
The five most common determinants of varicose and spider veins are:
As you get older, your vein valves weaken. When this happens, blood that should be flowing towards your heart can end up flowing backwards, causing blood to pool and your veins to enlarge and become varicose due to the pressure.
As statistics show, women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. Hormones are a big reason for this disparity. The changes women’s bodies go through during menstruation, menopause and even birth control play a part since female hormones have been known to relax vein walls. Some pregnant women develop varicose veins.
Additionally, pregnancy can increase because the volume of the blood in a woman’s body increases but the blood flow from her legs to pelvis does not. This is the body’s natural reaction to growing a healthy fetus, but as a result can cause the veins to become swollen, especially towards the end of pregnancy. And again, changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can also add to the likelihood of developing varicose veins.
If you happen to be born with weak vein valves, then your risk of developing varicose veins or a venous reflux disease is increased. Likewise, if your family has a history of developing them, you’ll more likely seem them form on your own legs. Nearly 50 percent of people with varicose vein problems share the same issue with a family member.
Being overweight or obese puts an added pressure on your veins. The excess fat in legs squeezes the vein and valves can start to malfunction. When this happens, blood can flow backwards and start to pool, causing the veins to become noticeably varicose.
Prolonged standing or sitting
Sitting or standing for long periods of time can lead to a little more than discomfort. When you’re in the same position for long periods, your blood doesn’t flow as efficiently as it would with regular movement, this causes the veins to work harder to pump your blood up to your heart. The added effort can lead to the veins becoming swollen and varicose.
Whether you’re currently trying to hide protruding veins or find yourself falling into a few of the risk categories above, give Dr. Jeffrey Gosin at Shore Vascular & Vein Center a call at (609) 927-VEIN (8346) for more information, get diagnosed or receive treatments. Don’t let the rest of summer pass you by, get out there and show off those legs.