How Varicose Veins Can Develop in Young Adults
Do you usually associate swollen, twisted varicose veins with old age? Although we are more likely to develop varicose veins as we get older, anyone (even teenagers!) can be affected.
You may not realize that varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. These bulging veins are caused by underlying vein disease, or venous insufficiency. Vein disease affects blood circulation and can lead to unpleasant symptoms like leg swelling, cramping, itching, and fatigue. When left untreated, vein disease can also increase your risk of developing dangerous health conditions like blood clots and venous ulcers.
We want you to know that age, genetics, and lifestyle factors can determine whether you are at risk for developing poor vein health. Here’s what you should know about how varicose veins can affect young people and the many causes of vein disease.
Causes of Varicose Veins in Young People
While this may come as an unwelcome surprise, the reality is that varicose veins in young adults and teens can and do occur. You may be wondering, why do you get varicose veins at a young age?
Young people can develop varicose veins if they have any of the risk factors for vein disease. Some of these are completely out of your control, like genetics. Vein disease is a hereditary condition, so if you have a close family member with varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them. You are also at increased risk if you are a woman.
On the other hand, lifestyle factors such as not getting enough exercise or eating a poor diet can also affect your likelihood of developing vein disease. Having an elevated Body Mass Index (BMI), smoking, or struggling with diabetes or high blood pressure can affect your vein health. We recommend working with your doctor to control these variables.
One common cause of varicose veins in young adults and teens is pregnancy. During pregnancy, women experience increased blood flow and an influx of hormones. These factors place additional strain on the veins, especially the saphenous and femoral leg veins. This added pressure can damage tiny, one-way vein valves. When this occurs, your veins have trouble sending blood back to the heart. Instead, blood begins to pool and veins begin to swell.
Although the legs, ankles, and feet are most commonly affected, varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body. Many pregnant women experience swollen veins in the pelvic region. Although varicose veins do not usually disappear on their own, pregnancy is an exception. Varicose veins often resolve after childbirth without treatment.
Young people can develop varicose veins from standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. While physical activity promotes proper blood circulation and helps prevent vein disease, long periods of inactivity have the opposite effect. When you don’t move around enough throughout the day, blood flow slows and venous insufficiency can develop.
With this in mind, you can see how sitting at a desk in school, or even in front of your computer during virtual learning, may impact your vein health. It’s also important to keep in mind that working certain jobs that require you to stand on your feet or sit for a long time can also affect your veins. To avoid vein problems, we suggest taking frequent breaks throughout the day to move around. You can also elevate, stretch, and massage your legs whenever possible to encourage better blood flow. Wearing compression socks may also be beneficial.
Preventing Varicose Veins in Young Adults
We want you to understand that it is not always possible to prevent varicose veins in young people. However, you can reduce certain risk factors by making appropriate lifestyle modifications.
If you are concerned about your vein health, try the following:
- Maintain a healthy BMI
- Eat a well-rounded diet
- Exercise regularly
- Walk between classes or on your lunch break
- Get up from your computer from time to time
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol, sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats
- Manage other health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure
- Wear medically-prescribed compression socks
It is essential to recognize that being young doesn’t guarantee good health. If you possess unhealthy habits that can eventually lead to vein disease, you may want to make some changes now. Following a healthy lifestyle when you’re young can potentially save you from a lot of pain and stress in the future.
Vein Treatment at USA Vein Clinics
If you are young and already experiencing vein symptoms, you may be wondering where to turn for help. We suggest visiting a vein specialist for personalized recommendations. The good news is that lifestyle modifications can be highly effective when they are implemented early on. You are also likely to benefit from close monitoring by an expert.
Our specialists at USA Vein Clinics are available to help you improve your vein health. When vein treatment is necessary, we can provide a range of effective, non-surgical options. We know that young people are busy and don’t want to experience a lot of downtime. All of our minimally invasive, office-based procedures can be performed over your lunch hour. Afterward, the majority of our patients are able to return to most normal activities immediately.
Scheduling an initial consultation at USA Vein Clinics is both easy and convenient. We offer 90+ clinic locations nationwide, along with telemedicine options. You can give us a call at 888.768.3467 or use our online scheduling form. We look forward to helping you understand and improve your vein health!