What causes broken veins in the legs?


Quick Answer

Broken veins, also known as spider veins or telangiactasis, are caused by the weakening of valves in the veins, which leads to an accumulation of blood and gives the veins a swollen appearance, explains Healthline. Conditions that put patients at greater risk for developing spider veins include aging, obesity, pregnancy, long periods of sitting or standing, a family history of telangiactasis and hormone replacement therapy. The condition is highly common among those over 50.

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Full Answer

Numerous treatments are available for spider veins, including compression stockings, sclerotherapy and endoscopic vein surgery, notes Mayo Clinic. Compression stockings, typically the first treatment attempted, tightly squeeze the patient’s legs to ensure blood circulates more easily. Sclerotherapy relies on closing the veins with an injected solution that eventually causes them to fade away. Endoscopic vein surgery involves closing the veins from the inside with an endoscopic camera and subsequently extracting them.

Lifestyle changes and habits that may reduce the symptoms of spider veins and reduce the likelihood of their development include dieting, keeping legs elevated and getting regular exercise, reports Mayo Clinic. A diet low on salt is useful for avoiding swelling caused by retaining excessive amounts of water, but any diet that keeps the patient at a healthy weight is helpful. Regular exercise and lifting legs into a position higher than the heart several times a day both stimulate circulation in the legs.

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