varicose veinsYour veins are responsible for carrying blood back to your heart and the lungs, where the blood can pick up nutrients and oxygen before circulating to the rest of the body. Unlike your arteries, veins have very thin walls, as well as valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction.

Vein problems are usually hereditary, but because their walls are so thin, certain factors, including hormonal changes (e.g. aging and pregnancy) can weaken and damage the veins.

How the Veins Change

When you become pregnant, the volume of blood flowing through your body increases. This puts more strain and stress on the veins.

On the other hand, as you age, all the blood vessels in your body become less elastic and less flexible. This means that the walls expand, but don’t return to their natural shape.

What Happens When the Veins Change?

The expansion in your veins will prevent the veins from closing properly. Blood that normally flows upward will then go back through the open valve, and it will collect at the lowest point in your body—your legs and ankles.

When the veins remain expanded, you’ll get the dreaded varicose and spider veins.

Treatment

Seek medical treatments for your vein issues. There are many options today, including laser treatments and sclerotherapy, but perhaps the best treatment available is venous stent placement.

So what does a stent do? Stents create an inner circular tube in the vein, which aids in the healing of weak veins.

Prevention

Many things can affect the way your veins behave as you age or during your pregnancy. Heredity is a factor—you are more likely to develop varicose veins if others in the family also have or had them. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent the issues from happening, including eating a “vein-healthy” diet and exercising at least 30 minutes a day.

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