It is estimated that about 35% of the US population has varicose veins – most of them are women over 50 years of age. While heredity often plays a big part in who gets them, other risk factors include obesity, women who’ve had more than one pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle, taking oral contraceptives, aging, leg injury, and smoking. It is largely a cosmetic issue though. People don’t like the bulges and lines on their legs caused by the affected veins. They will often seek vein treatments to alleviate the problem and improve their appearance.
The human body is a very intricate, complex system and when there is a problem in one part, it can affect other parts of the body. Someone with varicose veins may experience other health problems, such as high blood pressure. But are these two conditions related? If so, which one came first?
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
It isn’t always easy to tell if you have varicose veins. If you can’t see them, you may not even know they are there. Some of the more common symptoms of varicose veins (that are detectable) include:
- A feeling of heaviness in the leg or legs
- The skin in the affected area begins to change color or even texture
- Legs ache or burn
- A rash or sores appear on the leg
On the other hand, hypertension usually has no discernable symptoms. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because many times people don’t know that they are hypertensive until they have an event such as a heart attack or stroke. It is only then, while they are receiving treatment, that they are told they have high blood pressure. So, it is quite possible to have hypertension and not even realize it.
What is the link between varicose veins and high blood pressure?
Some people believe that varicose veins can cause high blood pressure. However, one study was not able to link the two conditions, although there was a distinct link between arterial disease and hypertension. Some patients have expresses concern about a potential link between vein treatments and high blood pressure, but doctors and researchers assure them that no such link exists.
Another study found that varicose veins are often a risk indicator of a more serious condition called arterial disease, but they do not actually cause it. Hypertension can be caused by arterial disease, or the two conditions can share the same or similar triggers.
What is venous hypertension?
Venous hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in a varicose vein gets too high. This can make it more difficult for the blood to be pumped through the damaged veins. This can cause inflammation that affects the walls of the vein as well as the soft tissue that surrounds it. In such cases, there are several types of vein treatments that can help.
At United Vein Centers, your health is everything to us. If you have varicose veins or other conditions, you don’t have to suffer alone. We can help. Give us a call and find out what we can do for you.