Why Some People Get Varicose Veins and Others Don't

Why Some People Get Varicose Veins and Others Don't

Are you dealing with bulging, bumpy, purple veins on your legs? So are millions of other adults in the United States — in fact 20%. While there may be some solace in the fact that you’re not alone, it doesn’t explain why you have them and the other 80% of adults in the country don’t.

Here at North Atlanta Vascular Clinic, under the expert guidance of board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians, our team focuses on diagnosing and treating vascular conditions of every kind at our offices located around the Atlanta area. Among the more common conditions we treat are varicose veins, which aren’t generally dangerous, but they can be troublesome from a cosmetic perspective and they may be also a sign of something larger at play.

Here’s a look at what varicose veins are and why some people get them and others don’t.

A troubled return trip

The average human body contains about 5.5 liters of blood, which is continuously circulated by the heart. Your heart beats about 100,000 times per day, moving 2,000 gallons of blood through it (about five quarts a minute!), sending your blood out through your arteries, which then returns to your heart through your veins.

To keep everything moving in the right direction, especially for the blood that’s returning from your lower extremities, your veins contain tiny one-way valves that open and shut to prevent your blood from succumbing to gravity and spilling backward. If these valves are weak and not functioning properly, your blood can begin to pool, creating swelling in your blood vessels that turn into varicose veins.

For the most part, varicose veins aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can pose a cosmetic issue for many. Less commonly, these veins can become itchy or painful, and even develop ulcers.

Why me?

Now let’s take a look at why some people have problems with the one-way valves in their legs and others don’t. There are a number of factors that may put you more at risk, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll review the top 5:

  1. Family history: Approximately half of those people with varicose veins have a family history of the condition.
  2. Age: Like every other part of your body, veins can weaken and wear with time, causing problems with your valves as you get older.
  3. Gender: Women are more prone to varicose veins largely because of fluctuations in their hormone levels. And pregnancy is also one of the biggest culprits behind varicose veins.
  4. Weight: People who are carrying too much weight are at risk of developing varicose veins because the extra weight puts added pressure on their blood vessels.
  5. Standing: If you spend a considerable amount of time on your feet, your veins are working incredibly hard to constantly return blood, and they may begin to weaken and give way.

There are other factors that can lead to varicose veins, but these are the most common.

What now?

Now that we’ve discussed the many factors that may have contributed to your varicose veins, let’s talk solutions. We usually like to start out conservatively with some adjustments in your life that can mitigate your risk factors. For example, wearing compression socks, exercising more, losing weight, and elevating your legs are all great solutions for dealing with varicose veins.

If your veins are still causing you discomfort after these at-home approaches, we do offer several effective treatments that essentially shut down these veins and reroute your blood, including:

To determine which treatment option is best for you, one of our specialists sits down with you to review the number, size, and location of your varicose veins to come up with the best plan for your unique situation.

If you’d like to jump from the 20% haves to join the 80% have-nots when it comes to varicose veins, call one of our offices in Johns Creek, Cumming, Roswell, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. Or you can use our online booking tool to set up an appointment.

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