Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that appear bluish-green under the skin’s surface. They can be lumpy to the touch and bulge out from the skin in certain places. Commonly found at the back of the knee, on the calf, or the upper thigh, they can also be detected in other parts of the body like the rectal area. Varicose veins are most commonly caused by malfunctioning valves in the veins. When the one-directional valves no longer function well, blood is allowed to flow backward and pool beneath the affected valves, causing the veins to enlarge and stretch, thus resulting in a bloated appearance.
Unfortunately, being female is a drawback when it comes to the development of varicose veins. Female hormones like estrogen and progesterone tend to relax and reduce the turgidity of the walls of your veins, making the valves more prone to leaking. This also means that there is a higher tendency for the veins to bulge.
Increased stress is exerted on your circulatory system when you are obese. Veins and blood vessels have to work harder to move blood to your heart and all over your body. This increases the possibility of damaged or weakened vein valves. Being overweight may also make it harder to engage in frequent exercises, which can decrease your calf muscle strength and make it difficult for your veins to push blood toward the heart.
Smoking causes vasoconstriction or the narrowing of your veins. The blood then has to flow against gravity and navigate through a narrower vein channel, which makes it more difficult for it to be distributed to the heart. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also reduces the oxygen level of your blood, increasing the risk of inflamed and injured veins. Over time, your veins may harden and become varicosed.
Aging is a big factor behind the weakening of vein valves. With the wear and tear that comes from aging, the valves lose their elasticity and strength, thus resulting in a slower backflow of blood. Your skin also becomes thinner as you age, thus engorged veins appear to protrude more beneath the skin, resulting in the exaggerated appearance of varicose veins.
Stay Active in Our Retirement Community
Exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to combat varicose veins. The residents in our active independent community stay busy through an array of interesting and fun activities that promote wellness for the mind, body, and soul. Dimensions Health and Wellness program organizes exercise classes, educational opportunities, and spiritual gatherings to give our residents the best variety of activities to choose from each day.
If you are thinking about moving to independent living, schedule a tour and visit our community! We are located near Lake Murray in the city of Columbia, and our residents can participate in exciting cultural activities held in the Town Theatre, the oldest historic community theatre in the United States. We offer some of the best senior living programs for our retirement community. Contact us today to learn more about our active independent living community!