Varicose veins (and spider veins) are abnormal vein conditions that occur when the valves within the vein become weak or damaged. Veins are responsible for carrying blood from the body back to the heart. But when a valve becomes weakened, the vein is sometimes unable to perform this function properly. This can cause venous insufficiency, where the blood leaks back into the vein and pools up, resulting in swelling, bulging or a twisted vein that is either blue, red or flesh colored. A spider vein is very similar to the varicose type, but smaller. Also, spider veins tend to develop closer to the skin’s surface and carry the appearance of a spider web or tree branch with shorter more jagged lines. Varicose or spider veins can appear anywhere on the body, but are more common in lower areas like the abdomen and legs. This is because the veins in the lower part of the body flow uphill, necessitating healthy and well-functioning valves to make sure the blood gets pumped properly back into the heart.
Varicose Veins – Causes
It is estimated that nearly 50% of all adults in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem and there are a number of factors that contribute to this. Here is a list of some of the most common causes of varicose veins:
- Age: Around half of all adults over the age of 50 are affected by varicose veins. The older a person gets, the weaker their valves become, thus exposing them to a higher risk of ending up with this condition. However, kids and teens can also be susceptible to aggravating vein conditions.
- Weight Gain: When a person becomes overweight to the point of obesity, the extra weight can put undue stress on the abdomen and legs, causing the vessels to weaken.
- Heredity: It is believed that family history can be a contributing factor to venous insufficiency, though researchers are not yet entirely certain how much family medical & health concerns have to do with this condition.
- Occupation: There are certain occupations that require a person to stand all day, such as a teacher, nurse, or factory worker. Standing for hours without a break can create a lot of pressure on the veins in the lower part of the body.
- Hormonal Changes in Women: Women who go through puberty, menopause or a pregnancy are more likely to contract this disease.
- Climate: Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays* can cause damage to the veins. This is particularly common with fair skinned people who don’t wear the proper level of sunscreen when doing outdoor activities.
*When it comes to common varicose vein causes, Jacksonville residents need to be aware that the warmer climate and proximity to the equator put them at higher risk than residents in most other areas of the U.S. For this reason, folks living in the Jacksonville area should take extra precautions to make certain they are always protected from overexposure to the sun – especially in the face and legs.
Varicose Veins – Prevention
There are several ways for Jacksonville residents to help prevent venous insufficiency conditions from occurring. In addition to wearing the proper level of sunscreen at all times, the following preventive measures are recommended:
- Regular leg exercises such as walking or running
- Eating a high fiber, low salt diet
- Leg elevation while resting
- Avoid wearing high heel shoes or tight, constricting clothing for long periods of time
- Avoid standing or sitting in one spot for too long
Varicose Veins Treatment
For some Floridians, venous insufficiency may be just a “cosmetic nuisance.” But for others, varicose veins cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Many who suffer from this condition do not seek treatment, believing it is either too expensive, too risky, or that their condition is just a natural part of aging. The good news is that through the effective, affordable varicose veins treatment provided by St. Johns Vein Center in Jacksonville, people don’t have to live with leg pain. We offer several affordable treatments for varicose veins that are safe and effective. These include:
Contact our Jacksonville clinic today to schedule a consultation with Dr. St. George and find out which varicose veins treatment would be best for you, and how we can help you eliminate your vein problems and move on with your life.