“Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh colored. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. They can be swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. They are often found on the thighs, back of the calves, or the inside of the leg. When a woman is pregnant, these veins can also form around the vagina and buttocks” (Women’s Health, 2010). “They can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary varicose veins originate in veins that are close to the skins surface. Secondary varicose veins originate in deep veins, causing enlargement of veins close to the skin’s surface” (MedHelp, 2008).
Varicose veins are a very common condition. These veins can cause mild to moderate pain, skin ulcers, blood clots, or other issues (People Science Health, 2011). Many people think varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern (Mayo Clinic, 2011). “Overtime, the vein walls become weakened and stretched, causing the veins to bulge out and twist. Eventually the veins may become unable to pump enough blood back to the heart, causing blood to pool in the legs” (Healthy Women, 2012).
“The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body through arteries. Veins then carry the blood from the body back to the heart. As your leg muscles squeeze, they push blood back to the heart from your lower body against the flow of gravity. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up your legs. When the valves become weak, this causes the veins to become varicose” (Women’s Health, 2010).
“Varicose veins are two to three times more common in women than men. Incidence increases with age and about 50% of people over the age of 50 have varicose veins” (MedHelp, 2008). “About 25 million Americans are affected by varicose veins. They are most common in people aged 30 to 70” (Cardio Smart, 2012). “About 50 to 55% of women and 40 to 45% of men in the United States suffer from varicose veins” (Women’s Health, 2010). Most people are more likely to get them as they get older (Kids Health, 2010). Being born with weak vein valves also increases your risk. Family history with vein problems also will increase your risk. About half of people with varicose veins had a family member who has had this (Women’s Health, 2010). “Heredity is a very important risk factor. The chance of developing varicose veins doubles if a parent has the condition. If a family member has varicose veins, the risk for developing the condition is about 40% in female relatives and about 20% in male relatives” (MedHelp, 2008). Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone can contribute to the formation of varicose veins (Women’s Health, 2010).
While pregnant, there is a huge amount of increased blood in your body. This can cause the veins to get bigger. Also the growing baby inside of you puts pressure on the veins. If you develop varicose veins during pregnancy, they will improve three months after the baby is born. If you continue to have more babies, varicose veins will appear additionally with each pregnancy (Women’s Health, 2010). If you are overweight or are obesity, having this extra weight on the body can put additional pressure on the veins. When a person tends to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time with legs bent or crossed, your veins have to work harder to pump the blood back to the heart. High blood pressure, lack of exercise, and previous leg...