Why Do Varicose Veins Commonly Occur in the Legs?

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why do varicose veins occur in the legs

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If you suffer from varicose veins in the legs, you may wonder what causes them to develop in the first place. Varicose veins are a symptom of vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency. Results across studies suggest that in the general population, up to 17% of men and 40% of women experience chronic venous insufficiency.

While some people live with vein disease for years without symptoms, the condition is progressive. You may soon experience venous issues without treatment, including leg swelling, cramping, itching, and fatigue.

Below, we discuss the causes of varicose veins in legs and what you can do to alleviate your pain or discomfort. For personalized treatment recommendations, consult an experienced vein specialist.

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Causes of Varicose Veins in Legs

What causes varicose veins in the legs? There are a variety of different factors that can lead to the development of vein disease and varicose veins.

Vein disease occurs when the valves in veins malfunction and cause the blood to pool within the vein. If you spend a lot of time sitting down or standing, this can lead to increased pressure on your leg veins, which over time can contribute to the development of varicose veins in the legs.

“The most common cause of vein disease is chronic inactivity,” says Dr. Yan Katsnelson, founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics.

Other factors can also increase your risk for varicose veins in the legs. These include:

  • Age: Age puts more strain on your veins, causing them to weaken over time. Although anyone can develop vein disease, people over the age of 50 are at greater risk.
  • Sex: Hormone changes place women at increased risk for varicose veins in the legs. Additionally, pregnancy increases blood volume that can enlarge your veins.
  • Obesity: Another common risk factor for varicose veins in legs is obesity. Extra weight can put more pressure on your veins.
  • Family history: Genetics plays a key role in the development of vein disease. If you have a close family member with varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them.
  • Underlying health conditions: Some health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes, can increase your risk of vein valves malfunctioning. Working closely with your doctor to manage these underlying risk factors is important.

If you are at high risk for vein disease, monitoring by a vein specialist is recommended.

Cause of Vein Disease

Why Do Varicose Veins Occur in the Legs?

Along with wondering why varicose veins occur in the legs, you may also want to know why varicose veins commonly appear in the legs? Varicose veins can appear anywhere on the body, but most people find them on their legs, ankles, or feet. This is because the veins in our legs are under pressure when we are sitting or standing.

“Over time, this pressure on the veins can cause the valves to malfunction, which leads to the collection of blood and the development of swollen, varicose veins,” states Dr. Katsnelson.

If you are struggling with leg pain or leg cramping and want to know if it could be due to varicose veins in the legs, it’s essential to observe the appearance of your legs every day. If you start seeing signs of vein disease like discoloration, swelling, itching or burning, you should meet with a specialist as soon as possible.

Although varicose veins are not life-threatening in themselves, they can lead to several dangerous health conditions. These include venous ulcers, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism.

Vein treatment can alleviate venous symptoms, reduce your risk for additional health problems, and improve your quality of life.

Schedule a Consultation with USA Vein Clinics

We hope that you now have a better understanding of, why do varicose veins occur in the legs? We also want you to know that if you are suffering from painful varicose veins, help is available.

At USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists provide minimally invasive, office-based treatment for varicose veins in legs, along with other venous issues. Our treatments are typically covered by most health insurance plans and can be done in under an hour, from start to finish.

To learn more, just schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 888.768.3467.

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Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.

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