Now that you’re older you may have noticed that your veins are becoming more and more visible. In fact, they may even be so unsightly that you refrain from wearing shorts or skirts in the summer.
Enlarged, swollen veins – known as varicose veins – are harmless for the most part, but they may lead to swollen legs, pain, and even blood clots in some people.
Although many of us may blame aging for those visible veins, it’s not the real reason why you develop varicosis. But before we get into what is causing your unsightly veins, let’s first discuss the anatomy of veins.
Veins, along with arteries, are part of our body’s circulatory system. Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from your lungs and heart, while veins carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. The powerhouse of the circulatory system, the heart then pumps the blood to the lungs to enrich it with oxygen again and continue the cycle. Now, here’s the challenge. The veins are pushing the blood up back to the heart against the gravity, especially in your legs and feet. Meaning, blood tends to pool there, resulting in enlarged, more visible veins.
Not everyone develops varicose veins in their golden years. Some people actually develop them much younger. This is because, as mentioned, it doesn’t have anything to do with aging, but rather with gravity.
There are also other factors that contribute to varicose veins including pregnancy, excess weight, lack of activity, and genetics. Some people may be more likely to have varicose veins than others, but it is possible to prevent the condition. Reducing your sitting hours and amping up your physical activity levels can help you reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
Some treatment options for varicose veins that your doctor may recommend are compression socks and sclerotherapy (this is a medical procedure which closes up veins).
Unless your varicose veins are causing discomfort, you generally don’t have to worry about them. But if you are getting tired of their appearance, you may want to speak to your doctor about your options.