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Varicose Veins: What are They and What are the Causes?

Varicose Veins: What are They and What are the Causes?

Feb 27, 2023

Varicose veins are abnormally dilated blood vessels that cause swollen, painful legs. Varicose veins occur when the valves of the veins don’t work properly and don’t return blood to the heart. Over time, varicose veins can become more noticeable, making it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time. Varicose veins usually develop in the lower legs. They start as small, red streaks before they become more prominent and purple in color. However, Ariel Soffer MD, FACC, can help treat varicose veins.

Below are the causes of varicose veins.

Damaged or weak valves: Valves in your veins prevent blood from flowing backward. They can’t do this job properly if they are damaged or weak. Blood may back up into the vein and cause swelling. Valves can be damaged by being stretched out (elongated) during pregnancy and childbirth. They can also be damaged by trauma such as an auto accident, surgery, or even standing for long periods.

Increased pressure in the legs: If you have varicose veins and high blood pressure, it is probably because your blood pressure is higher in your legs than in other parts of your body. This happens because the valves in your leg veins are not opening properly and letting blood flow down toward your feet, a condition known as reflux.

Reflux also occurs when you stand for long periods as gravity pulls blood down toward your feet. It creates extra pressure that keeps the valve shut, which keeps more blood from flowing through it. The same happens when you sit for long periods or lie down with your head lower than your feet (elevated position).

Pregnancy: During pregnancy, changes happen in your circulation to support blood flow to your growing fetus. These changes sometimes cause blood vessels to enlarge and become more prominent on your skin’s surface, a condition known as varicosis. After delivery, many women find their varicose vein problems disappear as their circulation returns to normal.

What is the best treatment for varicose veins?

Wear compression stockings

The best treatment for varicose veins is prevention. If you have thin, spiderlike leg veins, try wearing compression stockings. They are tight enough to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs and allow it to flow back toward your heart more easily.


Surgery is not always necessary for all cases of varicose veins, but it may be recommended if you have symptoms such as swelling and pain in your legs, ulceration of your skin due to pressure from the swollen veins, or if there is a chance that an ulcer may develop into gangrene (tissue death).

Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging, and twisted veins that can cause discomfort and pain. They often occur in the legs but may also be found in other body parts. In some cases, varicose veins can lead to a condition called DVT, which causes leg swelling and pain. A few genetic or hormonal factors may increase your risk of developing varicose veins, but most cases are caused by prolonged standing or sitting down. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, also have an increased risk of developing varicose veins. If you need treatment for varicose veins, contact Soffer Health Institute Experts.

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