Your leg veins are responsible for carrying blood up and out of the legs, back to the heart, against the pull of gravity. This very important job can lead to wear and tear on your veins over the course of your life. Varicose veins are superficial veins that have lost their ability to appropriately carry blood up and out of the leg, allowing the blood to flow backward toward the feet. This is also known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux and is a result of broken valves inside the veins. Once a vein has become varicose, it won’t go back to normal and should be treated if it is causing symptoms.

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What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can have a number of symptoms. These can include the following:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, or swelling in your lower legs
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Skin discoloration around a vein
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing long periods of time
  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color

What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Varicose Veins?

There are a number of factors that can raise your risk of developing varicose veins. 

  • Age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins. Eventually, all that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into your veins. Once this happens, the blood collects there instead of flowing back up to your heart.
  • Gender. Women are more likely to develop varicose veins.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause tend to relax vein walls. Hormone treatment such as birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in a woman’s body increases. This helps to support the growing baby. This unfortunately can cause the veins in a woman’s legs to enlarge and weaken over time.
  • Family History. Heredity is also a factor.  If family members have developed varicose veins, it is likely that you will as well.
  • Obesity. Being overweight also puts added pressure on your veins and can eventually lead to varicose veins.

Standing or sitting for long periods of time.  Blood does not flow as well when you stay in the same position for extended periods of time.

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Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely prevent the development of varicose veins. You may reduce your risk of this condition by improving your circulation. Exercising on a regular basis, maintaining a healthy weight, and adhering to a quality diet can definitely help. It is also important to change your sitting or standing position frequently. Once you develop vein disease, it will not get better on its own – you may be able to manage the symptoms through the wearing of medical-grade compression hose and elevation, but the diseased veins themselves will never improve and symptoms will most likely increase over time. At this point, it will be very important to seek out treatment from a vein specialist.

“I recently had varicose vein removal, and highly recommend Dr. Cutchen and staff. The process was well explained, professional and pretty painless. I will return for minor spider vein work soon. My legs look and feel MUCH better!” *

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Take The Next Step

If you are ready to look into varicose vein treatments, then it’s time to take the next step by calling Dr. Robert Cutchen at Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute at 505-848-VEIN or fill out the form on this page and one of our staff members will reach out to you promptly. Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute is located in the Journal Center area of Albuquerque and proudly serves vein patients throughout the entire Albuquerque area, as well as Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa, Los Lunas and other areas throughout New Mexico.

** This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.