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Are Varicose Veins Avoidable?

If you have varicose veins you’re not alone. More than 40 million people across the United States have these twisted, bulging veins, and many feel less confident about their appearance because of them. In the past, people relied on makeup or clothing to cover varicose veins. Today, varicose vein treatments can eliminate varicose veins to reduce health risks and improve the appearance of your skin.

What’s the deal with varicose veins?

Varicose veins are common. These veins happen when vein walls and valves become weak or damaged. They have a characteristic appearance that many people are familiar with. Varicose veins are raised, making them appear as if they are sitting on top of the skin. They’re typically purple or blue in color, are large, bulging, and twisted.

Varicose veins commonly form in the legs due to the natural force of gravity, but sometimes these veins develop in other parts of the body. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein, for example. They can develop in the stomach and esophagus also.

What causes varicose veins?

Veins contain valves that open and close only one way to keep blood moving toward the heart. When valves become weak or damaged, blood flow pools, placing pressure against the walls, causing veins to swell and become distorted, resulting in varicose veins.

Who’s at risk for varicose veins?

Varicose veins are common in people who have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have a family history of the condition. You’re also at an increased risk as you get older, if you sit or stand for long periods, and if you live an inactive lifestyle. Pregnancy and childbirth can raise the risk of varicose veins as well.

Can you avoid varicose veins?

Keeping your circulatory system strong with plenty of exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are ways to reduce the risk of varicose veins. If you have a job where you sit for long periods, it’s wise to break up your day with periods of standing or walking. 

Even standing up and stretching your legs for short periods can help. Since genes play a role in the development of varicose veins, it’s not always possible to avoid them. If you have family members who have varicose veins, there’s a chance you may develop them as well.

It’s not just about appearance

For most people, the main concern with varicose veins is the way they look. These large purplish, rope-like veins often appear on the legs, causing some people to feel self-conscious. At Vascular Esthetic Center we want patients to know that varicose veins aren’t just an aesthetic concern.

Having varicose veins is a sign of venous dysfunction. This means that the valves meant to keep blood flowing in one direction toward the heart function inefficiently. Sometimes this can cause health complications. In fact, research links varicose veins to an increased risk of developing blood clots, particularly deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT happens when blood clots develop in the deep veins within the body. These blood clots can break loose and travel through your bloodstream to places like your lungs. Blood clots can block blood flow in the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism.

How varicose veins affect your life

Varicose veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including aching and swelling in the legs and feet. Many people with varicose veins experience a heaviness in their legs, and cramps at night. Symptoms tend to get worse when you stand or sit for long periods and may get better when you put your feet up.

Diagnosing varicose veins

At Vascular Esthetic Center, cardiologist and varicose veins specialist Dr. Shahrzad Shareghi performs comprehensive evaluations to diagnose varicose veins. When you visit us for evaluation, Dr. Shareghi will perform a physical exam, discuss your symptoms, family history, activity levels, and lifestyle. The doctor may use an ultrasound or other imaging tests to check the health of your veins.

Varicose vein treatment

When you visit Vascular Esthetic Center for varicose vein treatment, Dr. Shareghi will discuss the options available to you. Minimally-invasive treatments that can eliminate varicose veins are available. Dr. Shareghi may also recommend lifestyle changes or medications.

You don’t have to live with varicose veins. To learn more about varicose vein treatment at Vascular Esthetic Center call 805-203-8284 to request an appointment at our Simi Valley, California, office or call 805-203-9858 to set up a visit for our Thousand Oaks, California office. 

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