Capitol Vein Blog

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's Causing Your Varicose Veins

In his healthcare blog, Dr. Andrew Weil tackled the subject of what women can do to prevent varicose veins. He's correct in stating that genetics and hormonal changes play a role in the development of varicosities, but moderate weight gain and crossing of the legs are largely irrelevant in my experience. I've seen numerous men and women at ideal body weight, or even underweight, who present with very significant varicose veins.

The influence of genetics is undeniable, but the exact mechanism of how this is transmitted is not yet undetermined. For example, some patients have grandparents who underwent vein stripping for significant bilateral varicose veins, yet neither of their parents has bad veins. Other patients have advanced venous disease; yet have numerous siblings with beautiful legs.

Hormonal influences are fairly well delineated, as elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone, especially during pregnancy, can cause vein relaxation and swelling. The symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy can often be quite problematic.

Crossing of the legs has long been suggested as a cause of varicose veins, but when one understands the anatomy of the leg veins and the mechanism of vein enlargement, it's clear that this activity is harmless. Varicose veins are fairly thick walled vessels and rest in parts of the leg that do not receive additional pressure by simple leg crossing. This is a myth of varicose veins that can be dispelled, along with other common myths.

Fortunately, for patients with varicose veins, the medical treatment is rather straightforward, minimally invasive, and allows for immediate return to normal activity. Most insurance plans cover varicose veins procedures. Early evaluation and intervention can reduce the longer term complications of swelling, phlebitis and even skin ulcers. Graduated support hose are a temporizing measure, required by many insurance companies, prior to eventual endovenous ablation with the Venefit ProcedureContact any of our offices in Maryland, West Virginia, or Virginia for vein care.


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