What Causes Vein Disease?  

Your veins are one of the main structures of your body’s circulatory system, the system that moves blood throughout your body. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood away from your heart and throughout your body. From there, the blood enters your veins, which are the vessels that transport the blood back to your heart to continue the cycle.

Many people can see their veins through their skin, especially people of pale complexions. However, some conditions produce visible veins that can be concerning for your health, comfort and overall self-image. Read on to learn what causes vein disease, some of the symptoms and what you can do to prevent and treat it.

What Causes Vein Disease?  
What Causes Vein Disease?  

What Is Vein Disease?

Venous disease is the result of compounding issues involving one’s veins. When veins become damaged, they allow blood to collect and flow backward when the muscles relax, hindering the circulatory system. This causes pressure to increase in the veins, which makes the veins swell and twist. Other results are decreased competency in the valves, weak blood flow and the potential formation of blood clots. As these issues build up, they can lead to several disorders, including venous disease.

This disease is quite common, with Johns Hopkins Medicine reporting nearly 15% of the population in the United States is affected by a type of venous disease called varicose veins. While most people are safe from health risks associated with venous disease, the symptoms can grow in severity, leading to serious and even life-threatening conditions such as thrombophlebitis.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

The causes of vein disease, specifically varicose veins, is from weak or damaged valves within the veins. It results in enlarged, twisted veins, most often occurring in one’s superficial veins in the legs. Superficial veins are the ones that are close to the skin’s surface, as opposed to deep veins, which exist within the body’s muscles.

The veins in your legs must fight against gravity to return the blood to your heart to continue the cycle of the circulatory system. This can lead to weakened, damaged valves over time. Weakened valves let blood flow backward and pool in the veins when your leg muscles relax, causing the veins to stretch, twist and increase in size. People with varicose veins can easily see them, as they are highly visible beneath the surface of the skin.

There are a few risk factors that can contribute to the cause of varicose veins, including the following:

  • Age: As you age, you will naturally put more wear and tear on the valves in your veins and increase your risk of getting varicose veins.
  • Sex: Women are four times more likely than men to experience varicose veins due to factors such as hormonal changes, pregnancy and menopause.
  • Pregnancy: The body’s blood volume increases during pregnancy to support the growing baby, but this can also lead to enlarged leg veins.
  • Genetics: One’s family history plays a role in the risk of experiencing varicose veins.
  • Obesity: Individuals who are overweight experience added pressure on their veins, which means more wear and tear.
  • Long periods of standing or sitting: Sedentary lifestyles can increase one’s risk of varicose veins as blood has a greater chance of flowing back into the legs.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins are a common, milder variation of varicose veins. The name comes from the thin, spiderweb-like appearance of the superficial veins of the legs and sometimes the face, hand or chest.

Spider veins are “dead-end” veins that become visible under the surface of the skin as blood flows back into them. The factors that raise one’s risk of getting varicose veins are the same ones that contribute to the cause of spider veins. The major difference is their appearance, but they can still lead to discomfort and a reduction in one’s quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms of Vein Disease?

Vein disease has many symptoms, some more common than others. It is important to know about all the symptoms because some people may be afflicted with a venous disease without experiencing any pain. Here are the two main visual signs of venous disease:

  • Dark purple or blue veins
  • Bulging, twisted veins that have a cord-like appearance on the legs

Many people will experience physical discomfort from having a venous disease like varicose veins or spider veins. Here are some of the more painful symptoms you should be aware of:

  • Heavy, aching sensations in the legs
  • Throbbing, burning, swelling and muscle cramping in the lower legs
  • Greater pain after long sessions of standing or sitting
  • Itching around one of the affected veins
  • Changes in skin color around one of the affected veins

How Can You Treat Vein Disease?

How Can You Treat Vein Disease?

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a venous disease like varicose veins or spider veins, your doctor can suggest various treatment methods to help you take the next step toward greater comfort. Here are some ways you can treat venous disease to lessen the unpleasant symptoms:

  • Elevate your feet: If you keep your feet raised a few inches when lying down, you can help ease some of the symptoms of venous disease and avoid further inflammation.
  • Resist scratching: Be sure to avoid scratching any itchy areas around varicose or spider veins, as this can lead to profuse bleeding.
  • Use elastic support stockings: Your doctor may recommend that you wear special stockings that provide elastic support to your legs and ankles. These will help stop blood from pooling in the veins.
  • Pursue surgery or other treatment methods: Talk to your doctor about recommended treatment methods for overcoming venous disease.

How Can You Prevent Vein Disease?

If you have yet to experience venous disease, you should do what you can to reduce your risk of getting it. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  • Stay active and exercise.
  • Control your weight.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing in a single position.
  • Stand up and walk around when taking long trips.

Request an Appointment With Texas Vein & Wellness Institute

Request an Appointment With Texas Vein & Wellness Institute

At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, our mission is to compassionately diagnose and treat vein disease for our patients. We have developed our process to ensure you feel comfortable and confident during your visit, every step of the way. We will help you understand your exact situation, and our skilled doctors will provide the results you are looking for.

Contact us today to take the next step toward experiencing relief from venous disease.

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