Veins are responsible for pumping blood from the legs and other extremities back to the heart. When you have damaged, weakened or malfunctioning vein valves, blood can get stuck and pool within the vein. This condition is known as venous insufficiency and tends to worsen over time. When veins no longer pump enough blood back to the heart, it adversely affects the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems as well. If left untreated, vein disease can lead to leg ulcers and potential blood clots, putting your life at risk.
Risk factors of venous insufficiency
There are many risk factors associated with venous insufficiency, although blood clots and varicose veins are the usual culprits. These include:
- Advanced age
People over the age of 50 are more likely to experience a loss of vein structural integrity, leaving them more susceptible to venous insufficiency.
Women are more likely to retain fluid in their legs, a condition known as edema. This places additional pressure on the venous system.
Blood volume increases during pregnancy, which puts additional pressure on the veins, causing varicose veins.
- Family history
Vein disease is hereditary, so if there is a family history of venous insufficiency, you are more likely to have this condition as well.
You are more likely to develop vein disease if you are overweight. Similar to the effects of edema, being overweight puts additional pressure on your blood as it flows back toward the heart.
Jobs that require you to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time or overall lack of muscle movement can negatively impact blood flow.
The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the structure and function of your veins, increasing your risk of vein disease.
You can lower your risk of venous insufficiency through maintaining a healthy weight, diet and exercise regimen. If you have noticed varicose veins beginning to form in your legs, talk to your doctor or vein care specialist about treatment options that could work for you.
Contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic today at 855-591-1357 to learn how we can help improve your vein health.