Here is a good article discussing varicose veins and your vascular health.
Varicose veins are caused by high blood pressure within a vein. The unsightly or bulging veins in the legs or pelvis occur when valves in the veins break.
Although the veins become enlarged or twisted, varicose veins aren’t usually a serious medical condition, Johns Hopkins reports. Other symptoms of varicose veins include sores on the legs, rashes, skin color changes, and a heavy or aching feeling in the legs.
“To what extent can varicose veins affect blood pressure and cardiovascular health remains somewhat of a medical mystery,” says Vein Specialists of the South. “However, doctors do know that it contributes to blood pressure conditions like venous hypertension and other illnesses that could put a person’s life at risk.”
Varicose veins result from venous hypertension, increasing blood pressure in the veins, according to the Illinois Vein Specialists. Valves in the veins normally transport blood from the feet to the heart as the veins are flattened when standing or walking.
However, the valves can break over time in about 25 percent of people. Blood pressure increases in other valves as each valve breaks. Problems result when high blood pressure occurs in most or all of the valves from venous hypertension.
The pressure builds in the branch veins, also affecting larger veins in the leg. The veins can bulge through the skin, causing unsightly varicose veins.
The elevated blood pressure in particular veins damages valves and weakens the walls around the veins, Johns Hopkins notes.
Some risk factors for varicose veins are the same risks involved in high blood pressure or heart disease. These factors include being overweight or obese, inactivity, smoking, or older age. Leg injuries, pregnancy, or being female also increase the risk for varicose veins.
Self-treatment often helps relieve blood pressure in the veins to reduce swelling or other symptoms. Elevating the legs whenever possible for about 15 minutes throughout the day helps improve blood circulation. Compression stockings squeeze the veins to prevent the pooling of blood.
Doctors can treat varicose veins in some patients by using sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is injected into the varicose veins so other veins take over the job of transporting blood to the heart. Laser treatment can destroy the varicose veins.
Surgery is another option for many patients, especially for cosmetic reasons. Vein stripping removes the varicose veins. Some veins benefit from small incision avulsion, accomplished through small cuts. The high blood pressure veins can also be removed through transilluminated powered phlebectomy, in which a bright light helps to remove veins.