Factors causing Varicose and Spider Veins
Unsightly leg veins are more common as we age. Heredity is the major contributing cause of varicose veins, affecting 30% of men and women. Genetic factors are a major cause – being born with “weak” veins or valves or insufficient valves are a major cause.
Pregnancy is the other major cause. Pregnancy induced hormones and the pressure caused by the enlarging uterus increases the back pressure on valves. In general, the distension of the veins settles following the first pregnancy. With each subsequent pregnancy, the distension and back pressure becomes accumulative, causing non-reversible distension, thus valve failure or “incompetence” leading to varicose veins.
Other factors contributing to venous disease are trauma, occupations that require prolonged periods of standing, obesity and past history of thrombosis. Excessive sun exposure in fair skinned individuals increases the chance of getting veins on the nose, cheeks and chin.
Unsightly veins in legs are usually of three different types. Tortuous, lumpy, thick knotted veins are called varicose veins while tiny purplish network of veins which often look like a spider web are called Telangiectasia or spider veins. In between these two types are bluish/green veins lying deeper in the skin called reticular or feeder veins. These are often responsible for spider veins.
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The face, neck, chest and back are the most commonly affected areas.