You have seen them: twisting, blue veins that appear on the back of legs. These are called varicose veins and are not a lovely sight. If you are suffering from this condition, you will replace all your short skirts or shorts with ankle-length clothes. Have you ever asked yourself what the cause of this condition is and how to prevent its occurrence? Here is a primer.
Understanding Varicose Veins
These are enlarged and twisted veins that develop just beneath your skin, especially on the legs and the ankles. The veins appear as purplish or bluish lines.
Before you understand how varicose veins form, it is vital you understand how blood flows through your veins. Veins are like tubes, and they have valves that maintain the flow of blood in one direction. These valves prevent the flow of blood backwards due to gravity.
In varicose veins, the valves are either faulty or absent. According to The Vein Institute, this causes the blood flow to slow down and accumulate in your veins. Due to gravity, the blood collects in your extremities, especially your legs. As the blood builds up, your veins enlarge due to the pressure created by the accumulated fluid. Overstretched veins stretch and bulge, and might even burst.
What are The Causes and Risk factors of Varicose Veins?
Various factors predispose you to varicose veins. These include:
• Age – Varicose veins are more common with increasing age due to loss of elasticity of your veins.
• Pregnancy – The increased volume of blood during pregnancy puts pressure on your veins. The growing uterus also presses the veins in the groin, restricting free flow of blood.
• Gender – Various factors make females more vulnerable to varicose veins. These include menopause, pregnancy, and various medications such as birth control treatment or hormone replacement therapy.
• Obesity – Excess weight puts pressure on your veins. • Family history – you are more likely to develop varicose veins if both your parents suffered from the condition.
There are various outcomes from varicose veins that occur if left unattended. You are at high risk of developing a blood clot that can be fatal, you can develop ulcers that can become open wounds, or it can affect your mobility. This is the reason you need to find a way to prevent or reduce the varicose veins.
Tips to Reduce or Prevent Varicose Veins
There are ways to prevent varicose veins or reduce its symptoms. These include:
Shed the Extra pounds
Excess weight places a strain on your legs, weakening the walls of your veins. This leads to loss of elasticity in the walls, which make the valves ineffective. Get off the couch and take a walk, or head to the gym to work your lower legs. Exercising keeps the blood pumping, which encourages it to flow normally.
Eat Up, but Wisely
You need to eat up, but you have to watch what you eat. Go slow on fattening foods, and load up on foods with low sodium but rich in fiber. This will help you maintain a manageable weight. To keep the integrity of the walls of your veins, consume foods rich in fiber, copper, vitamins B6, B12, C and E.
Keep the Sun at Bay
Buy a high-SPF sunscreen and never leave your house without applying it on your skin. Prolonged exposure to the sun removes moisture from your skin, leaving it dry. This prevents the skin and the veins below your skin surface from being able to flex and move properly. This can’t keep the blood flowing normally. Sunscreen prevents the onset of the harmful effects of the sun.
Cut the Nicotine
Effects of nicotine on veins have been overlooked. Truth is that nicotine contains harmful chemicals that affect every blood vessel in your body. This increases the chances of developing varicose veins.
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