What are Varicose Veins?

varicose-veinsVaricose veins are enlarged, noticeably discolored veins. They often appear swollen and twisted and are typically 3 millimeters or more in diameter. Varicose veins are most commonly found on the backs of the calves or on the thighs and are often painful and occasionally itchy. However, use caution, as scratching them can cause open sores and bleeding ulcers. Varicose veins occur most frequently in women and in both sexes over the age of 50.

Your circulatory system carries blood throughout your body and is made up of the heart, veins, and arteries. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to your tissues, while through a series of one-way valves, veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. If these valves are damaged, the blood can begin to pool in your extremities, especially in your lower leg veins and may cause feelings of fatigue, aching, burning, itching, cramping, swelling and even leg ulcers.

What causes varicose veins?

Recent research suggests that heredity causes most varicose veins. If one or both of your parents have varicose veins, your risk of having them is above 60%. Other contributing factors include obesity, leg trauma or injury, multiple pregnancies and constant standing occupations, including nursing, teaching, and factory assembly lines.

As mentioned, veins have valves that help move blood back toward the heart and prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. In a varicose vein, these valves fail or become weak and result in blood moving away from the heart and leaking back into the vein and pooling there. This pooled blood enlarges and stretches the vein and it becomes varicose, swollen and often twisted. In addition to weak valves, weak vein walls can cause the vein to stretch causing the valve to malfunction. This occurs most often in women who are pregnant.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

Varicose veins are more than cosmetic, they indicate that the pressure in the veins of the legs is too high, known as venous hypertension. If left untreated, venous hypertension can result in permanent damage to the deep leg veins and the skin. More importantly, vein damage can lead to blood clots and dislodged or “traveling” blood clots that can cause sudden death from pulmonary embolism. Blood clots may occur more frequently if you are confined and inactive during a long plane or car trip.

Injury of the skin above varicose veins can result in stasis dermatitis, pigment changes, thickened skin and in advanced cases, leg ulcers with scarring. Prolonged venous hypertension and varicose veins can cause painful swelling of the legs. An increasing number of spider veins, smaller blue veins radiating from larger leg veins may also suggest venous hypertension.

What are your options for varicose veins treatment?

To avoid the dangerous complications of your varicose veins, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible. To avoid the side effects and expense that come with the surgical treatment options you should choose natural treatment options. If you would like to learn more about getting rid of varicose veins the natural way, visit Varicose Veins Secrets.

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