Causes of Varicose Veins & Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Them

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When Are Varicose Veins?

Over half of women in the United States that are over the age of 50 suffer from some form of varicose veins.  Men get varicose veins as well but in most cases the majority of varicose vein cases involve women.  Varicose veins occur when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood in compacted areas. Varicose veins often accompany bluish, purple, or red colored pigmentation that are raised and often painful.

Symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Raised dark blue blood vessels, especially in the thigh and calf areas.
  • Aching, tender, heavy, or sore legs.
  • Swelling in the ankles or feet after standing for a long period of time, accompanied by varicose veins.

Severe symptoms of varicose veins that require medical attention include:

  • Swelling that becomes unbarible, or the skin over your varicose veins becomes discolored, ulcerated, flakey, or prone to bleeding.  This could be a signal that you are developing stasis dermatitis. To prevent potentially serious circulatory problems the veins may be removed with surgery.
  • You have warm, tender, and red varicose veins. This could be a sign of a blood clot in the vein known as phlebitis.
  • You have injured a varicose vein resulting in a burst of blood.


What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins happen when veins are not functioning as they normally would when they are in healthy condition. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. When vein valves malfunction, blood begins to collect in the vein instead of continuing to travel toward your heart.

The following are potential causes for varicose veins include:

  • standing for long periods of time
  • pressure on the midsection of the body, especially the abdomen
  • obesity, which adds weight to the body and increases the pressure on the legs
  • chronic heart valve conditions, which are usually congenital
  • pregnancy
  • Menopause

Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Varicose Veins

The following changes can help prevent varicose veins from forming:

  • Avoid standing for extended periods of time.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Improve your leg strength by exercising.
  • Refrain from crossing your legs for long periods of time.
  • Elevate your legs whenever you’re resting or sleeping.

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