Varicose Veins: Why You Get Them
Visible veins refer to the condition where the veins underneath the skin are easily noticeable and can be seen from the surface. This phenomenon occurs when the veins become dilated or enlarged, making them more prominent. Numerous issues can cause veins to be visible, including the following:
- Skin tone
- Body fat percentage (BMI)
- History of sun exposure (damage from UV rays)
- Hydration levels
- Vascular health
In some cases, visible veins may be a temporary occurrence. For example, during exercise or physical activity, enhanced blood flow can lead to greater visibility. However, once the activity is completed and the body returns to a resting state, the visibility of the veins may diminish.
While visible veins are generally harmless and a natural part of the body's anatomy, there are instances where they may indicate an underlying health issue. If accompanied by pain, swelling, or discoloration, a physician should be consulted to rule out any potential problems.
Why do veins become more visible as we age?
Veins becoming visible as individuals age is a common phenomenon. However, it is important to note that not everyone will experience this change. The visibility of veins in older individuals can be attributed to multiple factors, including naturally thinning skin, and losing fat tissue beneath the skin's surface.
As we age, the decrease in collagen production causes skin to become thinner. Collagen, the body’s most abundant protein, gives elasticity and support to the skin. With less collagen, the skin becomes more transparent, making veins more noticeable.
Additionally, the loss of fat tissue under the skin can contribute to the increased visibility of veins. As we get older, the fat layer that lies beneath the skin can diminish, causing veins to appear closer to the surface. This can be particularly noticeable in the hands, arms, and legs.
Other factors affecting the visibility of veins with age include lifestyle choices and genetics. For example, individuals who have spent a lot of time in the sun or have a history of sunburn may have more visible veins due to the sun's damaging effects on the skin. Similarly, genetics can predict the thickness and elasticity of an individual's skin, influencing the visibility of veins.
When Vein Visibility Should be a Cause For Concern
While the visibility of veins can be a normal part of the aging process, there are instances where it might signal a change in health status. A physician should address any changes, as they could indicate a contributing medical condition that requires evaluation and treatment.
What is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)?
When visible veins are a sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), it is important to understand the underlying causes and symptoms associated with this condition.
CVI develops when the leg veins are unable to return blood to the heart efficiently. This disorder can lead to blood pooling in the veins, leading to various symptoms and complications.
One of the visible signs of chronic venous insufficiency is the appearance of enlarged and twisted veins, known as varicose veins. These veins appear green, dark blue, or purple and may be raised or bulging. Though they most frequently appear on the legs, they can also erupt in other areas of the body. Varicose veins can be alarming and may cause the following symptoms
- Swelling in feet and ankles
- Leg ulcers
- Skin discoloration
- Skin thickening
Several factors contribute to the development of CVI. These include age, family history, obesity, pregnancy, and a sedentary lifestyle. However, the most common cause of CVI is deep vein thrombosis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a disorder resulting from developing a blood clot within the deeper veins in the lower extremities, most often the legs.
The link between DVT and CVI is significant. When a blood clot accumulates, it can cause damage to the deep vein and the valves within it. This damage can trigger long-term problems with blood flow in the affected veins, resulting in CVI.
How is CVI diagnosed and treated?
To diagnose chronic venous insufficiency, your physician may perform a physical examination and imaging tests.
Treatment options for CVI aim to improve blood flow, alleviate symptoms, and prevent complications. Lifestyle adjustments such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding prolonged sitting or standing can also help promote healthy circulation.
Compression stockings or socks may be recommended to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. In some cases, medical interventions, such as radiofrequency ablation or sclerotherapy, may be necessary to close off or remove damaged veins.
People with CVI need to seek medical attention and follow the prescribed treatment plan. By doing so, they can manage symptoms, prevent complications, and improve their overall quality of life.
Texas Endovascular: Minimally Invasive Treatment for Venous Disease
If you are struggling with chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins, Texas Endovascular is here to help. At Texas Endovascular, we specialize in providing effective treatment options for people suffering from these conditions. Reach out to us todayReach out to us todayReach out to us today and take the first step towards healthier, happier legs!