Are you noticing some spots of discoloration or bulging on your legs? It may be varicose veins, a common health concern for approximately half of all people over 50 years old, though it’s not exclusive to that demographic.
While many of us may opt to hide our varicose veins under pants or long skirts, knowing what causes them, how to prevent them, and how to treat them can help boost our confidence to show off our legs again.
Varicose veins are a result of the loosening of vein walls. When veins expand, the internal valves that direct blood flow become damaged or “malfunction,” causing blood to pool in that area of the vein. The result: inflammation, swelling, potential pain or numbness, and the bruise-like coloring typical of varicose veins.
Spider veins, which tend to be a smaller, less texturally irregular version of varicose veins, can be considered an early warning sign. Those with more severe cases of varicose veins may also experience leg cramps, swelling, and restless leg syndrome. Most often, varicose veins pop up in areas that are farther from the heart, like the legs, because it’s a tough job for these body parts to continuously battle gravity and keep sending blood back up to the heart.
There are a few factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins, aside from being over 50 years old:
It’s estimated that varicose veins affect more than 23% of adults worldwide and approximately one in every four adults in the United States. Women are considered to be at higher risk of developing varicose veins because estrogen and progesterone are linked to the relaxation of vein walls, which is what leads to those faulty valves.
For prevention, wearing compression stockings while working is an effective fix for those with careers that involve very little sitting. Weight loss and exercise, as well as regular elevation of the legs (think sitting with legs on a stool during downtime) are also good techniques to lower risk.
Those in the “lucky” 30% of people who have varicose veins but don’t experience pain or discomfort may opt to leave them be if they’re not worried about their appearance. For those who are a little self-conscious, consider a non-surgical aesthetic treatment to minimize the appearance of visible veins when spider veins begin to crop up. Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial treatments can reduce the appearance of vascular marks (visible veins) and discoloration for smoother, more even-toned skin.
To discover if an IPL photofacial treatment plan is right for you, contact a certified treatment provider near you today.
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