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What Causes Varicose Veins?

It’s a common question we hear from patients, “What causes varicose veins?” We want our patients to feel comfortable and informed, so we always take the time to break down what’s happening in their bodies. Arteries carry the blood from your heart to your extremities to deliver oxygen to the tissue, while the veins in your body are designed to return blood from the rest of your body to your heart to be re-circulated. Did you know that if you were to lay out the arteries, capillaries and veins of an adult, they would stretch about 60,000 miles?

The arteries, capillaries and veins are always working to circulate the oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood, and almost 75% of the body’s blood is found in your legs. To send this blood up through your legs requires working against gravity. Muscle contractions help veins by acting as pumps and your veins contain small, one-way valves that open to allow the blood to flow upward and close to keep the blood from flowing backwards.

As we age, the thin elastic vein wall can lose elasticity and stretch. As the walls stretch, the valves are unable to fully close, allowing some of the blood to flow backward. This blood can collect in your lower veins causing them to enlarge and become varicose. The blue hue is caused by the pooling deoxygenated blood. Besides age, there are a few other factors, such as family history, pregnancy, obesity, leg trauma and lack of movement, which can increase your chances of getting varicose veins.

About Via Radiology

Do you have varicose or spider veins? Trust the experts at Via Vascular. Our doctors offer minimally invasive spider vein treatment and varicose vein treatment in Seattle. Schedule an appointment today to find out if you are a candidate for treatment by calling Via Vascular at (206) 525-8346 or by filling out our online contact form.


(Image Courtesy of Stockimages and
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