If you suffer from varicose and spider veins, you are not alone. It is estimated that there are more than 80 million Americans who suffer from some form of venous disorder. While some people need treatment for cosmetic improvement, many seek relief from pain.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Although veins and arteries are both part of the circulatory system, they work in very different ways from each other. Blood is pushed throughout the arteries of the body by pressure created from the pumping of the heart. Veins, unlike arteries, carry blood against the force of gravity. They rely on leg muscle contraction and one-way valves inside the veins to carry blood back toward the heart. If the valves in veins fail, gravity keeps blood from flowing back to the heart efficiently. This produces a back-up, or congestion of blood. As a result, pressure builds up and the diseased veins become enlarged, eventually bulging to the skin’s surface. The same disease process can affect veins of any size; however, when larger veins fail, they are typically called varicose veins. When smaller veins are affected, they are typically called spider veins.
Pain in the legs is frequently related to abnormal leg veins. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to dermatitis or a rash, discoloration, or even ulceration of the lower leg. Since most veins lie deep in the skin’s surface, vein disorders are not always visible to the naked eye. As a result, diagnostic ultrasound is often used to determine the cause and severity of the problem.
Recent studies show more than 58 percent of the women between 18 and 49 said that the one thing they would like to change about their legs was better stamina and energy. This actually ranked higher than sexier looking legs (26%), and younger looking legs (14%). No wonder! More than 50 percent of women surveyed experience leg fatigue.
Varicose veins and painful, tired, swollen, and heavy legs are not part of the natural aging process. Many people have these symptoms and assume they occur just because they are “getting older”. The root cause of these problems is frequently an abnormality in the vein system of the legs called venous reflux. With venous reflux, the legs have lost their natural ability to return venous blood to the heart allowing blood to pool in the legs, causing pain, swelling and varicose veins. In healthy legs, there exists a valve system in the veins that is designed to support venous blood. Venous reflux stems from a failure of this valve system that allows blood to collect in the legs when standing for long periods. The common causes of vein valve failure are pregnancy, prolonged standing, excess weight, aggressive physical exercise, and familial inheritance. These veins usually need to be eliminated to improve the overall health of the legs and to allow the venous circulation to flow properly.
An estimated 80 million adults in the U.S. alone suffer from leg vein disease. Below is some basic information worth knowing…
Most patients receiving treatment for leg vein problems, are women. However, variose veins occur in men as well. So what causes these problems to occur? Several factors: hormones and heredity can both be part of the equation. Jobs requiring long periods of standing or sitting contribute to vein disease.