Varicose Veins in Young Adults
Varicose Veins in Young Adults
Varicose veins are more typical in older individuals but can also occur in young adults. The condition that causes varicose veins to develop is genetic (primarily), but many people associate varicose veins with age-related changes.
Varicose veins develop for various reasons, and age is just one reason.
While age plays a factor in their development, young adults may also develop venous insufficiency.
When the veins in your legs are damaged, blood cannot return to the heart, putting you at risk for related complications, such as ulcers, pain, and skin changes.
Next, you will understand how you can develop a venous condition in your twenties and thirties and ways to slow its progression. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle changes that young adults can make at home to prevent or treat the appearance of spider or varicose veins.
YOUNG ADULTS CAN HAVE VARICOSE VEINS
Generally, young adults tend not to focus on the health of their veins, as they do not anticipate developing bulging varicose veins at an early age. But if you think it cannot happen, it is false.
As mentioned before, it is a myth that varicose veins only affect those older. Although the risk increases after age fifty, young adults may also develop varicose veins.
Lots of us are naive to the signs and symptoms that indicate the early stages of varicose vein disease, such as the presence of spider veins, and do not seek early care to avoid more advanced vein disease in the future.
The reality is that we may begin to exhibit signs and symptoms of both spider veins and more prominent, bulging varicose veins, even as young adults. More than eighty million Americans suffer from vein disease, which can lead to more health problems if ignored.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VARICOSE VEINS AND SPIDER VEINS
Both spider veins and varicose veins are damaged and malfunctioning veins, and we include them in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) conditions. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the one-way valves in the veins break down, allowing blood to flow back toward the feet instead of up toward the heart and lungs.
When this situation happens, the pressure inside the veins increases and may lead to spider veins and more prominent varicose veins.
The difference between a spider veins and varicose veins is the size and location. Generally, you will see spider veins near the surface of the skin; they are small and can form in clusters.
On the other hand, more prominent varicose veins can present themselves in different ways, sometimes, you will not see them because they are deeper below the skin’s surface, but as they progress, you may see them bulge below the surface of the skin.
Especially as young adults, many think of spider veins as a cosmetic problem. However, the truth is that spider veins cause discomfort, pain, and inconvenience and can indicate a more significant problem beneath the skin’s surface.
Frequently, more prominent varicose veins below the skin surface are the source of these smaller superficial or spider veins.
VEIN DISEASE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS IN YOUNG ADULTS
Chronic venous insufficiency, or vein disease, causes various symptoms, which young adults often feel earlier. You may have chronic venous insufficiency if you are young and active and notice unusual discomfort, pain, and swelling in your legs, especially after strenuous activity.
The most specific visible signs (what you can see) and physical symptoms (what you feel) related to vein disease that you should be alert of include the following:
–VISIBLE VEIN DISEASE SIGNS IN YOUNG ADULTS
- Leg swelling
- Bulging veins
- Slow or non-healing wounds (ulcers)
- Hardening of bulging veins
–PHYSICAL VEIN DISEASE SYMPTOMS IN YOUNG ADULTS
- Pain, aching, discomfort
- Itching or tingling
- Symptoms worsen at night
- You can relieve your symptoms by elevating the leg or wearing graduated compression stockings.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS FOR VARICOSE VEINS IN YOUNG ADULTS
It requires a lot of energy to pump blood upward from your feet to your heart. The valves in your veins work hard against gravity, especially in your lower body and extremities.
The more complex your valves have to work, the more likely they are to weaken and cause varicose veins; this is why varicose veins are common among older people: their valves frequently tire after working for several decades.
In young patients, there are other reasons why their valves may weaken. Some typical causes of varicose veins in young adults include the following:
- GENETIC FACTORS (HEREDITARY)
Genetics is the leading cause of vein disease and accounts for about eighty percent of cases. It is not unusual to find varicose veins in young adults in their twenties and adolescents if the condition is inherited.
Some people are born with a weaker valve system, slower blood flow, or other genetic factors that may cause varicose veins. Because of these factors, young adults whose parents suffer from varicose veins are at greater risk of developing the condition themselves.
- SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Sitting for long periods may stress your venous system. This stressful situation happens because when you are sitting, the veins in your hips and thighs work at full speed to get blood to your heart. Because of this, young adults who are mainly sedentary or who work long hours sitting down are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins.
- HORMONAL CHANGES DURING PUBERTY OR PREGNANCY
Pregnancy, for example, causes you to gain a substantial amount of weight in a short time. In addition, swelling in your legs and hips puts pressure on the veins in your lower body. You also experience increased blood flow during pregnancy and slower circulation due to hormonal fluctuations.
All these changes in your body may cause your vessels to work at full throttle to transport blood through your venous system, leading to varicose veins during pregnancy.
- BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AND MEDICATIONS
The use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may be a risk factor for developing spider and varicose veins. For example, certain birth control pills may contribute to forming a blood clot even if they do not directly cause clots.
Regarding your medications, it is always worth checking with your physician to see if they could affect your circulation, even if that is not their primary purpose (especially if you already have a family history of venous problems).
Excess weight puts pressure on your legs and lower body, increasing stress on your veins’ valves. For this reason, young adults who suffer from obesity are more likely to develop varicose veins, especially in the lower body and elbows.
LOWERING THE RISKS OF VARICOSE VEINS
If you are concerned about developing varicose veins at an early age, you must take some essential steps, including the following:
- Exercise regularly
- Periodically elevate your legs
- Take breaks to stand or rest during the day
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Address any underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol, fat, and sugar intake.
- Limit wearing tight, constricting clothing
- Understand the possible interactions and side effects of all medications you take.
If you notice the physical symptoms of varicose veins, address your condition at any of our Modern Heart and Vascular Institute locations. Book a consultation to discuss treatment options today.
VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT
As said before, unfortunately, young adults may ignore for years the signs of varicose veins. Those signs may be falsely attributed to physical exhaustion, playing a particular sport, or getting older. However, varicose veins are a progressive condition that may lead to skin color or texture changes, ulcers, and other complications if left untreated.
Treatment for young adults does not vary much from strategies for older individuals, for example:
Your physician or healthcare provider will evaluate you (the young adult) for venous insufficiency and the severity of the symptoms.
Your physician or healthcare provider may prescribe methods to improve circulation, including compression stockings and specific exercises.
You may be a candidate for laser ablation or sclerotherapy to reduce the appearance of your veins and stop the progression of the disease.
If you are a young adult or adolescent, you are not alone. Varicose veins can be unsightly, uncomfortable, and even dangerous in cases where a blood clot develops. Because of those cases, it is crucial to be proactive in treating the condition, whether it is through compression garments or a clinical procedure to remove varicose veins.
Any young adult experiencing varicose veins must consult a vein specialist for treatment options. At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we specialize in non-invasive clinical vein treatment and can provide an expert diagnosis of what could be causing your varicose veins.
Contact us today to explore your treatment options at any of our Modern Heart and Vascular Institute locations.
We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice. For more information, contact us.
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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.