What Causes Varicose Veins?

The Society for Vascular Surgery estimates that about 35% of Americans have varicose veins. They can occur in anyone, but women are twice as likely as men to develop varicose veins. And, as is true with so many medical conditions, the older you get the more common they become.

Farouk Marzouk, MD is a top-rated vascular surgeon with a busy practice in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York – Frontier Medical Care. Dr. Marzouk specializes in treating conditions that affect your blood vessels, including varicose veins. He’s happy to provide some insight regarding these common and sometimes painful vein abnormalities.

Understanding the basics of varicose veins

Varicose veins occur when tiny flap-like structures (valves) within the affected vein become weak or damaged. Veins are the vessels that return blood from your body to your heart so that it can be oxygenated and recirculated.

There’s a reason why varicose veins almost always occur in your thighs and calves. To return this “used” blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.

Normally, muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps to help keep the blood flow moving upward. The tiny valves in your veins act like small dams that open to allow blood to travel toward your heart and then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

It’s a continuous process that coincides with every heartbeat and goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Unfortunately, weak or damaged valves allow blood to flow backward and pool in the vein, causing the elastic vein walls to stretch, twist, and bulge. Because most varicose veins are superficial or close to the skin’s surface, the distorted and bulging vein becomes visible.

What causes the valves and veins to weaken?

It’s not clear why some people develop varicose veins and others don’t. There are many common risk factors that we can identify, however, and these include:

People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions are also more susceptible to developing issues that affect vein health. Sometimes, however, there’s no identifiable reason for varicose veins.

Treatment for varicose veins

You may not need any treatment if you aren’t bothered by the appearance of your varicose veins and don’t have any symptoms such as swelling or tenderness in the area. It’s always safest, however, to check with us if you notice a new varicosity or multiple varicose veins develop.

Otherwise, there are many specialized treatments available for eliminating varicose veins that replace the painful vein stripping common in years past.

We offer highly advanced and effective solutions for varicose veins, which may include:

Schedule a visit with Dr. Marzouk here at Frontier Medical Care to learn more about what’s causing your varicose veins and the best treatment options for your circumstance. Call the office or book your appointment online.

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