Written By: Emma Squillace
Spider and varicose veins are frustrating, sometimes troublesome, visible veins that show up in the legs of millions of adults. It’s estimated that about half of all women will deal with some time of vein problem. These visible veins do not only discourage people from wearing summer clothing, but they can also cause pain, itchiness, and other symptoms. Today we’ll look at 10 factors that can make you more likely to have vein issues like spider, varicose, or reticular veins.
According to researchers, women are much more likely to have visible veins. At West Medical we do treat men for vein issues, but our experience also shows that women tend to get them more often. One reason for this is the hormonal changes women undergo, which are also tied to vein issues.
All types of visible veins are more likely to occur as we get older. One reason for this is our veins can weaken with age, which makes them more susceptible to the bulging, twisting, or swelling you see.
Carrying extra weight can make people more likely to develop visible veins. This is because extra weight puts extra pressure on the legs. This pressure can cause vein weakness. Losing weight can help reduce the risk of varicose and spider veins.
Your family history
Does someone in your family have visible veins? Many of our patients say they have heard their own mothers complaining about varicose veins. There is a correlation. At least half the people who have varicose veins, have a family history of them.
You stand most of the day
If you’re at a job where you stand most of the day, this can increase your risk for varicose veins. Often we see this with teachers, nurses, and retail workers. If you have to stand most of the day, try to find short breaks where you can sit and elevate your legs. This can help alleviate some of the pressure that weakens veins.
You sit most of the day
Sitting most of the day can cause varicose and spider veins – the same way that standing too much can. The reason is that when you sit for a while, your circulation is not as good and your heart has to work harder in order to get blood through your body. If you have a desk job or drive for a living, try to take walking breaks as often as you can. A 5 minute walk every hour or so can really add up in improving circulation.
You are or were pregnant
Pregnancy can increase the risk of visible veins. First of all, during pregnancy you gain weight, so that increases the pressure on your legs. Second of all, pregnancy causes hormonal changes that are linked to varicose veins. Additionally, your blood volume increases during pregnancy, which can be a contributor to these vein problems. The good news is that sometimes varicose veins that develop during pregnancy, disappear again within a year. This is not the case for all women, however.
You do a lot of heavy lifting
It is thought that repetitive heavy lifting can increase your risk for varicose and spider veins, because it is another activity that increases the pressure through your blood system. Heavy lifting increases abdominal pressure, which can make it harder for blood to get pumped back to your heart.
You’ve had leg trauma
If you’ve ever blood clots in your legs, or any kind of damage that would affect vein valves, this can lead to an increased risk for varicose and spider veins. This is because the veins may be less able to pump blood through your body efficiently, which can make bulging or swollen veins more likely.
You don’t exercise much
People who don’t make time to exercise regularly are at higher risk of visible veins. The exercise does not have to be extreme to be helpful. Even taking walks can help improve your circulation and lower the risk of developing varicose or spider veins. It’s ok if you don’t have time for long walks. Several short walks throughout the day can really add up.
If you have varicose, spider, or reticular veins, there are many possible reasons. From your age to your genetics, certain factors are out of your control. However, you can take steps to lower your risk by losing weight if necessary, alternating between sitting and standing during the day, and taking regular walks. If you’re like millions of adults who end up with varicose, spider, or reticular veins despite your best efforts – there are several treatment choices. At West Medical we offer options including minimally invasive sclerotherapy, microphlebectomy, and a more invasive procedure for the most severe of varicose veins, called ligation and stripping.
The best way to understand your choices is to come into West Medical for a consultation. Our vein specialists can tell you what types of visible veins you have, and review each of our treatment option. If you’d like to learn more about veins and vein treatments, please call our offices at (855) 690-0565.