Veins in the body works 24/7 even when at rest or sleep. It is responsible for returning blood from the rest of the body to the heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to the heart, the veins in the legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in the lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to the heart. Tiny valves in the veins open as blood flows toward the heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward. But as people age their veins become dark purple or blue in color or twisted and bulging; often like cords on the legs that causes pain and discomfort and become varicose.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, only smaller. They are found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue, usually on the legs, but can also be found on the face. They often look like a spider’s web.
- Age. As people get older, veins can lose elasticity causing them to stretch. The valves in the veins become weak and worn, that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into the veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart. They appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
- Pregnancy. Pregnant women go through a circulatory change designed to support the growing fetus, and this can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in the legs, hence some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when the uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in the legs.
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause cause hormones to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may also increase the risks.
- Obesity. Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time. The blood doesn’t flow as well if in the same position for long periods.
- Family history. It can be inherited too.
Treatment – Fortunately, treatment usually doesn’t mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.
- Self-care . To ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse – exercise, lose weight, refrain from wearing tight clothes, elevate your legs, and avoid long periods of standing or sitting.
- Compression Stockings. Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. Wearing it all day is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments.
- Treatments for More-Severe Varicose Veins. If self-care and compression stockings do not help, or if the condition is more severe, a doctor may suggest any of these treatments:
- Laser surgeries
- Catheter-assisted procedures
- Vein stripping
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Endoscopic vein surgery