Knowing more about varicose vein causes helps patients in the Manhattan area understand how the condition develops and what they can do to minimize risk. Drs. Michael Nguyen and Mary So of Vein Institute & Pain Centers of America share this information.

Improper vein function

Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to organs and muscles throughout the body. Veins return “used� blood to the heart. Veins deep beneath leg muscles are responsible for most of that flow. However, about ten percent of blood is sent back to the chest from veins near the surface, somewhat visible and not well-supported.

Leg muscles help move blood upward, but that function relies on a system of one-way valves in veins. They work against gravity, which tries to force blood downward. When valves stop sealing properly, varicosity results. Vein walls are pushed apart, resulting in chronic dilation. Blood pools, rather than moving from one valve to the next. Veins bulge and twist.

Ladies are more likely

Women are about four times as probable as men to develop varicose veins at some point in their lives. The condition of their veins is affected by hormonal changes from:

  • Puberty.
  • Birth control pills.
  • Pregnancy – Veins may appear during the first trimester, and resolve naturally within a few months of delivery. With each subsequent pregnancy, abnormal veins typically become more prominent.
  • Menopause.
  • Hormone replacement therapy.

Other contributing factors

  • Abdominal strain from heavy lifting or constipation.
  • Age – half of Americans over 50 have varicose veins.
  • Chronic (usually congenital) heart valve problems.
  • Clothing that places pressure on the abdomen.
  • Excess weight.
  • Family history of varicose veins.
  • Leg injury.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Sitting or standing for long stretches of time.
  • Smoking.

Regardless of your varicose vein causes, you will find treatment solutions at Vein Institute & Pain Centers of America in Manhattan. Call (212) 810-9525.

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