Varicose veins are very common. They usually affect the legs and appear as bulging, twisting bluish-purplish veins. While they’re rarely dangerous, they can cause symptoms such as aching, discomfort, and itchiness.
What causes varicose veins?
There are so many theories explaining the causes of varicose veins, but medical experts agree that the weakness of the vein walls and valves play an important role.
How varicose veins develop
Deoxygenated blood is pumped through a series of veins and venous valves. As the leg muscles contract, the valves in the veins open to allow the blood to flow back to the heart. Each valve has two opposing flaps that act as gates, preventing the backflow of the blood into the legs. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow back into the leg veins, increasing the pressure within.
As the pressure in the leg vein grows, it swells and gets distended – hence, the bulging appearance of varicose veins.
Can you inherit varicose veins?
Heredity is an important risk factor in determining your chance of developing varicose veins. You have a higher chance of having it if an immediate family member (e.g. mom, sister) has it.
The role of genetics
Some people inherit valve problems such as having very few or dysfunctional valves. There are also some people who are born with vein abnormalities, causing the valves to separate and become leaky.
People in their 20s who have varicose veins are usually believed to have inherited such conditions.
What to do if you’re predisposed to having varicose veins?
If you are at high risk of developing varicose veins because of your genes, there are things you can do to prevent the onset or progression:
Make exercise a habit.
Physical activities can help you keep your weight within a healthy range (obesity is also a risk factor for varicose veins) and promotes vein circulation. If you’re completely new to exercising, you can try simple, low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
Use compression stockings.
If you’re on your feet for hours, you may benefit from wearing graduated-compression stockings. They help prevent the onset or progression of varicose veins.
See a vein specialist.
A vein specialist can look into your vein condition and help determine if you need vein treatment.
Premier Vascular and Vein Center of Knoxville, TN, has a team of vascular surgeons who specialize in vein treatment. For a limited time, Premier Vascular and Vein Center is offering FREE varicose vein screenings. Request a screening by calling us at (865) 588-8229 or visiting https://www.premierveinclinics.com/vein-screening/.