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What Causes Varicose Veins?
Learn what causes varicose veins and vein disease
Varicose veins are enlarged (usually 3mm or greater in diameter), twisting, bulging blood vessels visible under the surface of the skin, that sometimes look blue or purplish. One-directional valves in healthy leg veins keep blood moving in an upward direction, back to the heart. When those valves do not work properly, blood can back up into the vein, causing it to swell. For many people, varicose veins are not a problem beyond cosmetic concerns. For other patients, varicose veins cause result in serious conditions including blood clots, leg swelling and pain, and skin changes.
One of the primary causes of vein disease is your family history. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about this. Other causes of vein disease are age, sedentary lifestyle, obesity or excess weight, current or previous pregnancies, smoking, and a lifestyle or occupation that requires long periods of standing.
Often when a patient asks us the question, “What causes varicose veins?”, it is a female who is inquiring, and we have to tell her that gender certainly plays a role in the development of vein disease. Although approximately 40 percent of the male population above age 40 has varicose veins
, women are more likely to suffer from abnormal veins than men. In fact, up to 50 percent of the female population has some form of vein disease.
Pregnancy, current or previous, certainly contributes to the development of vein disease in females. Varicose veins often develop in the first trimester and subside a few months after delivery. However, with subsequent pregnancies, the abnormal veins may become more pronounced. Hormonal changes at puberty and menopause, and from taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, are also contributing factors for women.
The good news is that no matter what is the cause of your varicose veins
or chronic venous insufficiency, you have minimally-invasive treatment options that are safe and effective.
Most insurance plans cover these procedures. Recovery time is brief so that you may return to everyday activities promptly. Treatment eliminates varicose veins and improves the appearance of your legs. Schedule a consultation
with Dr. Shaun Patel
. He will be happy to tell you more about treatment options available for your varicose veins and vein disease.