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Varicose veins: a common issue among adults over 60

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Varicose veins are a common issue for adults over the age of 60.
(Courtesy)

As we age, varicose veins become a common health concern.

Studies estimate that one in five adults live with varicose veins and about 16 percent of adults with varicose veins are age 60 or older. Sixty-five percent of adults in this age group who are diagnosed with varicose veins have reported at least one varicose vein related leg symptom.

Why is there such a high incidence of mature adults developing varicose veins? It has to do with blood flow and gravity.

The one-way valves in our veins that stop blood from flowing backward become weak. As blood circulates and flows from the heart to the legs and back up again, some of the blood that is destined for the heart flows backward and remains in the legs.

This backward flow creates pressure within the vessel. Weakening of the vein walls, or congestion of blood in the legs, causes the valves to fail. This pressure from the increased amount of blood within the vein builds up, causing the veins to become twisted and enlarged. The veins can protrude and appear ropelike.

Varicose veins commonly develop when someone is overweight, there is a family history, a woman is or has been pregnant, or if someone stands for prolonged periods. Both men and women develop varicose veins. Symptoms include fatigue in the legs, leg cramps, leg pain, and swelling of the ankles. If varicose veins are left untreated the vein becomes thick, hard, and painful.

The thick rope-like appearance of varicose veins makes people feel older, which is a major factor in some aging adults’ decision to seek treatment.

However, there are health-related reasons to consider treatment for varicose veins, too.

The symptoms of varicose veins can slow down aging adults. Daily activity is an important lifestyle choice that fosters both good physical and mental health.

Varicose veins can increase the chances of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg. If a clot loosens, it can result in a life-threatening situation.

Varicose veins reduce circulation within the leg, and sores can develop. For some varicose vein sufferers these leg sores do not heal, and an infection can develop. In very serious cases, skin ulcers can form. For a mature adult diagnosed with Type II diabetes, this presents additional complications.

Varicose veins can cause discomfort at the vein site, with symptoms such as pressure, heaviness, burning, throbbing or pain.

Regular exercise, walking after sitting for long periods, losing weight, elevating the legs and wearing compression socks or supportive pressure garments help reduce and manage the symptoms of varicose veins.

Minimally invasive treatments offer relief from varicose veins without a lengthy, complicated and painful recovery period.

San Diego Vein Institute works with patients of all ages including aging adults to optimize their venous health and lifestyle. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. San Diego Vein Institute works with patients of all ages including aging adults to optimize their venous health and lifestyle. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit www.sdveininstitute.com.


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