If you’ve noticed blue and knotted veins on your legs and you know that varicose veins run in your family, you may suspect that you are next in line in that genetic predisposition lottery and want to know what is in store for you. Or perhaps you have recently been diagnosed with venous hypertension or varicose veins and want to know more. In this week’s blog, we will discuss the basics of varicose veins and answer a few common questions that you may have.
Varicose Vein Basics
When a vein falls into the category of being varicose, it is enlarged, and gnarled. This means that instead of being straight, it backtracks on itself over and over, like a river snaking its way through a landscape. This gnarled effect comes from blood pooling in the vein when the veins are unable to pump the blood back up to the hearts. The main reason for a vein to fail to pump blood back up is a defect in a valve. As blood travels from the feet and legs, it travels through a number of vein lengths that are capped with valves. You can think of these lengths like they are locks in a canal. If one of these valves fails either completely or partially, it allows blood to leak back down into the lower length. The blood is normally pumped upward by the contractions of muscles, but if there is a problem with the valve, the blood will pool in the vein. When it does this, it stretched out the walls of the vein, and they can become discolored and become twisted. They turn blue because that is the color of blood when it has been depleted of oxygen.
Risk Factors for Varicose Veins
There are lots of reasons people get varicose veins, and only some of them can be influenced by preemptive actions. For many people, they are simply unavoidable and can only be managed. Knowing your risk factors gives you factors to pay attention to in trying to manage them, or minimize them.
It is a fact of life, that as we age, parts of our bodies simply wear out and consequently give out. In the case of veins, they lose elasticity as we age. As they do so, the muscles are unable to contract enough to push the blood upward. Treat them with the suggestions below.
There are two main factors that contribute to an increased likelihood of varicose veins during pregnancy. The first factor is an increased volume of blood. When you are pregnant, your circulation system is pumping not just your blood through it, but also the blood of your baby. This increased volume stretches out your veins and can make them bulge. This extra volume also puts extra pressure on the valves. The second factor is relaxin. During pregnancy, your body produces relaxin to loosen the ligaments in the pelvis, widens the cervix, and the muscle cells in the walls of the vein wall. For many women, their legs return to their normal state after pregnancy, but for some, their veins remain stretched out, and varicose veins occur with greater frequency. Subsequent pregnancies can mean more trouble. The best things to do to manage the increased risk of varicose veins from pregnancy is to wear compression stockings to give your veins a helping hand while you are pregnant. The other thing you can do is to make sure that you are getting enough vitamin C, which is important to vein health.
To learn more about vein health, risk factors and ways to manage those risk factors, check back for our next blog. In the meantime, for the treatment of varicose veins in Dearborn and Brownstown, call Venocure. We diagnose and treat varicose veins.