Have you ever noticed enlarged, gnarled, bulging veins on someone's legs or hands? Were they blue and purple in color? These swollen veins are called varicose veins, a condition caused by high blood pressure in the veins that affects an estimated 40 million Americans. For some people, varicose veins are merely a cosmetic nuisance, but for others they can cause pain and discomfort and even lead superficial blood clotting and other severe issues.
Varicose veins are fairly common, and there are many factors that can put you at risk for developing them. If you have one or more of these factors, you should consult a vein doctor to discuss the preventive measures you should be taking. Here are some of the major risk factors:
- Genetics. If you have a family member with varicose veins, then there's a greater chance that you will get them too. If both of your parents have a vein complication, then there's a 90% chance you will develop it. About 50% of people with varicose veins have a family member who has them too. The risk is also greater for people with a chronic heart valve condition.
- Age. Your risk for varicose veins increases with age. While anyone can get them, adults 55 and above have a higher risk. As you age, your vessel valves become weaker, which can cause the blood to flow back and pool in the veins, resulting in varicose veins.
- Pregnancy. It's common for women to develop varicose veins during pregnancy. During pregnancy, women have a greater volume of blood in their bodies, but a decreased flow of flood from the legs to the pelvis to support the growing fetus. However, these changes, along with the pressure the fetus is applying on the interior vena cava, can lead to varicose veins.
- Gender. Varicose veins affect both men and women, but women have a greater risk. Up to 55% of women will develop varicose veins in their lifetime, compared to up to 45% of men. This is due to the hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy and menopause. The use of some birth control pills can also lead to varicose veins.
- Lifestyle. While the above risk factors are all factors you cannot control, your lifestyle choices can also affect your risk of developing varicose veins. Being overweight can put extra pressure on veins and cause varicose veins to emerge. Lack of movement can also contribute to the condition. When you sit or stand for a long time, your veins have to work harder to pump blood to the heart.
If you are at risk of developing varicose veins, don't fret. There are many treatment options available for removing varicose veins. The New York Vein Treatment Center performs the leading vein treatments, including Endovenous Laser Therapy and Sclerotherapy, in NYC. These procedures are minimally invasive and effective at removing varicose veins and preventing their reoccurrence. Contact us today for a free consultation: (212) 575-8346.