Varicose Veins: A Harmful Annoyance?

Updated on: August 18, 2014

People do what they can to maintain their health. After all, being healthy means being able to do the things that they want to do, whenever they want to do them. However, sometimes the old saying, "With age comes infirmity", happens, and the infirmity manifests itself in a variety of different ways.

In the case of older women, one of the problems that they might have to deal with involves the presence of varicose veins. No woman likes it when a large, thick, purple or dark blue vein appears on their leg and causes them a great amount of discomfort.

How do varicose veins come into being? There are actually a bunch of different ways, but the most prevalent has to do with significant weight gain. When a woman becomes pregnant, that additional weight really puts a lot of pressure on the legs. The legs are not just entirely bone and muscle, there are also lots of veins that pump blood to and from the heart.

The added weight pushes on these veins, and the circulation becomes slower. Sometimes, the circulation within certain veins actually stops altogether, and the blood starts to pool in the veins. The enlarged veins then poke out of the skin, and become varicose veins. Sounds disgusting, right? That is why pregnant women are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes or keep their feet elevated when they are resting.

How serious are varicose veins, anyway? Sometimes, they are just more of a cosmetic annoyance than anything else, and are eventually removed through sclerotherapy, in which medicine is injected to make the problematic vein collapse and go back into the leg.

Other times, the situation is an indication of a larger problem, such as a blood clot. People who do not move around very much (like all the women who sit behind a desk for long hours everyday at work, for example) become in danger of both these kinds of veins, and of clots.

What are the warning signs that these kinds of veins have the potential to become serious? Well, first of all, there are the leg aches. Think of the sensation as being something akin to how the legs feel after you've been walking around for a long time – yes, that kind of ache. That would explain the problem, but considering you don't take walks very much, then that could be a problem.

Another thing to look out for is the presence of a rash. Yes, most of the time rashes mean a small allergic reaction, or perhaps have been caused by heat, but when they manifest themselves around the specific veins, then they need to be treated immediately. This is because they might ulcerate.

Something else to keep in mind is that sometimes, pregnancy and weight gain have nothing to do with the appearance of these kinds of veins. Rather, they have a lot to do with genetics. Some people who have circulatory problems running in will get them anyway. It's yet another reason to keep as healthy as possible!

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