If you're suffering from varicose veins, then you should know you're far from alone. According to recent numbers, nearly half of the adults in the United States over the age of 50 have varicose veins. Given how prevalent this condition is, it's important for everyone to understand the basics. So here are five facts that everybody should know about varicose veins.
Veins become varicose when the valves inside of them stop working properly. These valves are designed to allow blood to flow in only one direction. When they become damaged, blood begins to flow the other way and pool, which results in the veins rising up beneath the surface of the skin.
You're probably wondering, who is at risk for getting varicose veins? In short, there are a number of factors, but two of the most important are genetics and lifestyle choices. Sadly, varicose veins are often an inherited condition, so if your parents or grandparents had them, then you're at a higher risk. Additionally, you're also at a higher risk if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or spend a majority of the day either on your feet or sitting down.
Even if you're at a higher risk for developing these troublesome veins, you can still prevent them from forming. The key to stopping or delaying varicose veins is healthy blood flow. Therefore, it's important to exercise regularly to keep your blood pumping normally, especially through your legs. Also, it's a good idea to stick to a healthy diet, which will improve the health of your heart and circulatory system.
Varicose veins may look unattractive, but that doesn't mean they're solely a cosmetic issue. These veins can cause a number of health problems, including pain, swelling, numbness and discoloration. Also, in rare cases, the affected vein can produce a clot that can break away and lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. So it's best to seek treatment sooner rather than later.
Over the last couple of decades, doctors have gotten pretty good about fighting varicose veins. Currently, a number of different options exist. One of the most popular is endovenous ablation, where laser or radiowaves are used to destroy the affected vein from the inside. Alternatively, there is a procedure called sclerotherapy that uses an abrasive chemical solution to eliminate the veins. Both of these treatment options are effective and relatively hassle-free.
There is no reason that you should have to live with varicose veins, and doing so can be harmful to your health. So talk with your doctor and figure out the best way to get rid of these unsightly, troublesome veins.
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