There are known causes of venous reflux and varicose veins, including pregnancies, prolonged standing, traumas or surgeries, and even your choice of shoes (such as wearing high heels and poor arch support). There are also genetic factors that predispose you to getting venous reflux and varicose veins due to environmental conditions. Some women can have five children without an obvious increase in veins or even stretch marks, while most women cannot avoid prominent veins after pregnancies. Inflammation is a factor in damage to the inner lining of the veins and in the healing or repair from damage. Venous reflux reduces the efficient outflow of venous blood back from the legs to the heart. This will affect the lower legs mostly and can cause fluid retention and skin changes. It may also aggravate a long list of other medical conditions directly and indirectly due to circulatory changes and reduced physical activities.
Failure of the one-way valves in the veins of the lower extremities allows blood to flow down the leg when the heart is higher than the leg. This abnormal reversal of flow causes blood to collect under high pressures in the veins of the lower extremities. This reversal of flow is called reflux and the condition is called venous insufficiency. The most common causes of venous reflux in North America are genetic weakness of the veins and abdominal obesity. Other problems that result in poor contraction and relaxation of the calf muscles may contribute as well. Some of these conditions would include arthritis of the knees, feet, ankles, or hips; a neurologic problem affecting the leg such as a stroke or a nerve injury: or severe injury to the calf muscle. Venous insufficiency may cause pain, aching, itching, restless legs, swelling, heaviness of the legs, rashes near the ankle, or leg ulcers. Sometime, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy such as numbness, burning, or stinging are worse due to venous insufficiency.
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