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What Causes Varicose Veins?

As a young woman, Anna had always taken pride in her lovely legs. When short skirts came into fashion, she was among the first of her friends to rush out to buy one. Even into her 60s, Anna had been proud of her legs and entirely comfortable wearing shorts in public. Recently, though, Anna had developed unsightly blue, knotty looking veins that she wasn’t so happy about. In addition to being unattractive, the veins were also painful. Her doctor told her they were varicose veins.

If an older adult for whom you are a family caregiver has varicose veins like Anna, knowing more about them can help you better assist them.


About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can happen in any part of the body, but they are most common in the legs and feet. They are oversized veins that look blue and gnarly. Sometimes they are nothing more than unsightly, but they can also cause uncomfortable or even serious complications. They can also indicate that the older adult is having problems with circulation.


Some of the complications that can result from varicose veins are:


Ulcers: Sores can develop on the skin near a varicose vein. They are especially common on the ankles. They happen when the added pressure in the varicose vein causes fluid to build up in the surrounding tissues.


Blood Clots: Sometimes varicose veins lead to blood clots signaled by swelling in the limb. If you notice swelling, the senior should receive immediate treatment as blood clots can be dangerous.


Bleeding: Varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin can sometimes rupture, causing bleeding. Usually, the bleeding is minor, but it should still be reported to the doctor since it may happen again.


Varicose Vein Causes


The main cause of varicose veins for older adults is age itself. Veins become less elastic as a person ages, which makes them stretch. In addition, the valves in the veins that keep blood moving in the right direction weaken. The blood may not move efficiently toward the heart and moves backward to pool in the veins. That makes the veins get larger. The blue color is caused by the deoxygenated blood in them that is on its way to moving back through the lungs.


In some cases, varicose veins are treated with surgery. However, they are often treated in other ways. The doctor may recommend that the older adult use compression stockings. These can be prescription or over the counter, depending on the amount of pressure needed. Compression stockings can be difficult to put on alone, so the senior may need help from a caregiver.


Caregivers can also help seniors to make lifestyle changes that can prevent additional varicose veins or keep symptoms from getting worse. Some lifestyle changes the doctor may recommend are losing weight, keeping legs elevated while resting, and reducing salt in the diet.



If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Woodbridge, VA, please call the caring staff at Care Hands Home Care today. Call 703-334-2862








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