Varicose veins mostly occur on the legs, very rarely elsewhere. Although varicose veins may develop in any part of the body, they often affect the veins in the lower extremities, particularly in the thighs and calves.
Veins return blood to the heart, and as blood flow in the veins of the legs are working against the effects of gravity, they contain valves to prevent blood flow reversing in the vein.
If these valves fail or become less efficient, the blood can back up, causing a bulge in the vein wall. This leads to enlarged and oftentimes twisted veins that can protrude and be made visible.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins may appear purple or bluish and protrude above the skin. As for the physical symptoms, a person may experience throbbing, swelling, cramps and pain.
These symptoms may subside once the legs are relaxed. Some people find that elevating their legs, changing their position and resting the affected part will significantly reduce the pain and discomfort.
Who Are More Prone to Developing Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can affect even the healthiest individual. However, there are some predisposing factors that have been correlated to incidences of varicose veins.
Genetics appears to play a role in the extent of this condition, as does aging – almost 50% of women aged between 40 and 50 were found to have developed varicose veins. There is not much anyone can do about those two causes!
There are other causative factors over which you can exercise some control. The problem can be exacerbated by smoking and poor diet, which adversely affect the whole cardiovascular system, as well as specifically weakening the walls and valves in the veins themselves.
Other factors that increase the risk of varicose veins include being overweight or obese. People who stand for most of the day have a greater risk, especially when combined with any of the other risk factors.
What Other Factors Can Cause Varicose Veins In Women?
A pregnancy applies added pressure to the legs, aggravating the potential for developing varicose veins. In addition, the hormones estrogen and progesterone have a relaxation effect on the walls of the veins and this contributes to the development of varicose veins. Women who have late pregnancies, such as in their 40s, are more at risk.
Having experienced a trauma, or surgery on the legs, or surgery near the lower extremities of the body, may result in an interruption of blood flow and this may lead to varicose vein problems.
How To Prevent The Development of Varicose Veins
- Avoid wearing very tight clothing such as girdles and any clothes that are too tight in your groin area, legs and waist as these can reduce blood flow.
- Avoid the habit of crossing your legs while sitting.
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing.
- Exercise regularly to improve your body’s circulation.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Elevate your legs for 30 minutes daily.
- Minimize the use of high heels.
What Are The Treatment Options for Varicose Veins?
Individuals affected with varicose veins do have treatment options for relief and even removal. Wearing compression stockings can help to relieve painful pressure and throbbing. There are also several minimally invasive treatment options such as endoluminal ablation and sclerotherapy.
Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins
To lessen the need for traditional treatments, there are also some natural remedies you can try to reduce the severity of the pain and discomfort brought about by varicose veins. These natural remedies include the following:
- An anti-inflammatory diet – Include foods such as garlic, cayenne pepper, witch hazel and butcher’s broom.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Aids healthy blood circulation.
- Olive Oil and Grape Seed.