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Understanding Varicose Veins: What Happens to Them as You Age?

Older Couple Running in Winter Snow

Varicose veins are a common condition that affects many people, especially as they grow older. If you have varicose veins, you might be wondering if they will worsen with age. In this blog post, we'll discuss what happens to varicose veins as you get older and provide some helpful information.

Understanding Varicose Veins

To understand how varicose veins can change over time, let's first grasp the basics. Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins that often appear in the legs. They occur when the valves inside the veins become weak or damaged, causing blood to pool and the veins to bulge.

The Impact of Aging

As you age, certain factors can contribute to the worsening of varicose veins:

  1. Weakening of Vein Walls: With time, the walls of our blood vessels lose some of their elasticity and flexibility. This can make them weaker, leading to vein dilation and distortion.

  2. Decline in Valve Function: As we grow older, the valves responsible for regulating blood flow within our veins can become less efficient. When these valves don't work properly, blood can flow backward and accumulate in the veins, making varicose veins more prominent.

  3. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations that occur during different stages of life, such as pregnancy or menopause, can also impact varicose veins. While aging itself doesn't cause hormonal changes, these shifts in hormone levels can weaken vein walls and valves, contributing to the development or worsening of varicose veins.

Preventing Varicose Veins

While aging is a factor in varicose vein progression, there are steps you can take to potentially slow down their development or alleviate symptoms:

  1. Stay Active: Regular exercise can help improve blood circulation and strengthen the muscles that support your veins. Walking, cycling, swimming, or practicing yoga are great choices to keep you moving.

  2. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight can put additional pressure on your veins, making varicose veins more likely. By maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise, you can reduce strain on your veins.

  3. Elevate Your Legs: Taking short breaks throughout the day to elevate your legs above the level of your heart can help improve blood flow and relieve discomfort associated with varicose veins.

Treatment Options

If varicose veins become bothersome or affect your daily life, there are treatments available that can help. These treatments are often minimally invasive and offer effective results:

  1. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): This procedure involves the use of radiofrequency energy to close off the affected vein. By redirecting blood flow to healthier veins, EVLA reduces the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.

  2. Sclerotherapy: In this treatment, a special solution is injected directly into the varicose vein, causing it to collapse and fade away over time. Sclerotherapy is commonly used for smaller varicose veins and spider veins.

  3. 1064nm Nd:YAG Laser Treatment: This noninvasive procedure involves the removal of smaller varicose and spider veins by using laser energy to penetrate the skin to close these veins. Initially the veins will be inflamed and over the following 6-12 weeks, these veins will slowly be resorbed and disappear.

As you age, varicose veins may become more prominent or cause discomfort. However, by understanding the impact of aging on these veins and adopting healthy habits, you can potentially slow down their progression. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and elevating your legs can help reduce the risk of developing varicose veins or alleviate their symptoms. If necessary, minimally invasive and noninvasive treatments offered by vein specialists, such as radiofrequency ablation or sclerotherapy, can provide effective solutions with minimal downtime. 

Call the Center for Varicose Veins at 203-457-6226 for more information or make an appointment online

Center for Varicose Veins logo Center for Varicose Veins Center for Varicose Veins in Wilton and Fairfield, Connecticut, is a speciality practice that serves the communities of Wilton, Norwalk, Westport, Weston, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Darien, Redding, Fairfield, Easton, Trumbull, Bridgeport, and Stamford, Connecticut, as well as Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, South Salem and Bedford, New York. Board-Certified Vascular and Interventional Radiologist Vinay Madan, MD, has over 25 years of experience using minimally invasive procedures to treat people affected by varicose veins and other forms of vein disease. With specialized care and expertise in the most advanced treatments, Dr. Madan offers relief of circulatory conditions affecting the legs, including chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, spider veins, leg swelling, and leg ulcers.

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