A varicose vein usually can be seen against the surface of the skin, as it bulges and may look uneven. Not all of these veins are visible, but the person is aware of heaviness and discomfort in the calves or ankles as blood pools there and the veins swell. Standing and walking for any length of time can become troubling because the legs may start to ache.
The disorder occurs when veins lose elasticity, as this is part of the process of sending blood back to the heart from the legs. Weakened valves no longer close, so blood flows back into the leg veins instead of continuing on its way to the heart.
Unavoidable Risk Factors
Some of the risk factors are unavoidable, at least to some extent. For example, as people age, they become more susceptible to the disorder. Women are at higher risk than men because of hormonal factors. In addition, pregnant women are more vulnerable to developing these vein problems. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy also increase the risk. And some of the risk is simply genetic.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
People can take action to decrease their susceptibility to the disorder, however. Maintaining a healthy weight is best, since extra pounds put more pressure on the legs when the person is standing.
An associated factor is that being active helps prevent both leg vein disorders and weight gain. Someone who spends most of the waking hours sitting in the same position or standing in one place is more vulnerable. Getting up and walking around whenever possible is recommended. Taking daily walks, climbing stairs and parking a good distance from one's destination also are useful strategies for getting in extra steps every day.
Raising the Legs
Keeping the legs raised above the level of the heart gives the veins and valves in the calves and ankles a break. Their job of sending blood back to the heart after it arrives through the arteries becomes easier, with less strain on the tissues.
Noninvasive treatments are suitable for most people with this disorder unless the disease has progressed to a serious state. Treatments like radiofrequency ablation and laser therapy to eliminate the veins can be provided by doctors with an organization such as Paras Clinic.