Varicose veins, also known as varicosis or varicosity, occur when your veins become over-filled with blood. Varicose veins are often painful and unsightly, with a bluish-purple or red coloration. Often, varicose veins appear swollen and raised.
The condition is very common, especially in women. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, half of all Americans over the age of 50 suffer from varicose veins (HHS). In most cases, varicose veins appear on the lower legs.
Causes Of Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur when the vein is not functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the vein rather than continuing toward your heart. Varicose veins often affect the legs, since they are the farthest from the heart and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward.
Some potential causes for this include:
- chronic heart valve conditions (usually a congenital issue)
- standing for long periods of time
- pressure on the midsection of the body (specifically the abdomen)
- obesity (this adds weight to the body and increases the pressure on the legs)