Why Do We Suffer From Varicose & Spider Veins?
Womans Day has recently published some helpful advice on what you need to know about varicose veins and spider veins – those unwanted but common conditions that affect more than eighty million adults in the USA.
We have shared some of this advice as well as adding our own suggestions and comments.
What causes varicose veins?
Two things that do not cause varicose veins – crossing your legs and wearing high heels. But there are plenty of other things that do because varicose veins occur when your vein isn’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. But if these valves fail, blood begins to pool in the vein rather than continuing toward your heart. This is why varicose veins so often affect the legs – they are the farthest from the heart and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward.
Some potential causes for varicose veins include:
- chronic heart valve conditions (usually congenital)
- standing for long periods of time
- pressure on the midsection of the body, especially the abdomen
- obesity, adding weight to the body and increasing the pressure on the legs
Unfortunately, varicose veins can cause fatigue of the legs, swelling and general discomfort. They can also be a warning of long-term health risks including: deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, poor circulation and leg swelling.
Dr. Lindsey Bordone who is a board-certified dermatologist, Department of Dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, says: “If your legs feel heavy or sore at the end of the day or with physical activity, it is wise to seek medical advice.”
Are varicose veins genetic?
While varicose or spider veins are definitely genetic, you can inherit the tendencies from either or both sides of your family – and the condition can even skip a generation.
Are varicose veins and spider veins the same?
No, they are not the same.
Spider veins are:
• small, thin blue blood vessels that can be seen under the skin
• usually harmless
• can be a symptom of poor circulation and varicose vein formation
Varicose veins are:
• stretched-out veins where blood has pooled
• thick, “ropey” and protrude out of legs
• occur when one-way valves don’t work properly
Unfortunately, you can experience both types in the same leg or area.
The symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins
- Your legs ache and feel heavy and congested if you sit or stand for any length of time.
- Veins bulge or appear twisted for a portion of your leg or there is an outline of bluish veins.
- The vein or veins become itchy and irritated or become inflamed after prolonged periods of sitting.
Is it only women who get varicose veins and spider veins?
It is not only women who suffer from varicose and/or spider veins – men can have them too.
Is pregnancy a problem?
Pregnancy increases the risk of varicose veins. Dr. Greg Martin author of Say Goodbye to Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Now! explains that pregnancy causes “increased pressure against the inferior vena cava, the main vein that drains blood from the lower half of the body. In certain body positions, the fetus can practically block the flow of blood.”
Other reasons include extra production of hormones during pregnancy as well as excess fat because it can lead to increased pressure in the abdomen.
Is exercise important?
Exercise is a great way to prevent varicose and spider veins including swimming, walking and climbing stairs. One exercise suggested by Dr Martin is called “toe raises”. Carry this out by strengthening and exercising your calf muscles throughout the day simply by raising yourself up on the balls of your feet and then lowering yourself back down again.
What modern medical treatment is available?
Treatment today is quite advanced. There is a new minimally invasive technique to remove abnormal veins where a thin laser fiber is inserted directly into the vein through a needle puncture to heat up the vein wall and destroy it. The original technique (EVLT) was developed by Dr Robert Min of Cornell Vascular.
Is natural treatment also available?
Yes, it is possible to treat the appearance and discomfort of varicose veins and spider veins in a natural safe way.
One way is by soaking wash cloths in witch hazel and apply to the affected areas of your legs while putting your feet up. You will find this action will reduce the pain and swelling. Carry out regularly to continue the relief.
Another is by using our own H-Varicose Veins Formula which is specially formulated for safe, effective symptomatic spider veins and varicose vein relief by penetrating deep into skin tissue to rapidly reduce both venous congestion and discomfort.