Healthy veins have smooth, pliant walls that help transport blood from different parts of the body to the heart. Because healthy veins are especially resilient, they can easily adapt to changes in pressure. When valves within veins are activated, they move blood quickly and efficiently in one direction. If these valves are not working properly—problems arise.
To start, ineffective or weak valves have difficulty moving blood from the limbs to the heart. When this occurs, blood flows backward causing it to “pool” or collect within veins. The end result: chronic venous insufficiency in the form of spider veins, varicose veins, or another significant vein-related condition.
Although it is not clear what causes the valves in your veins to become weak or damaged, there are a number of health and lifestyle factors that could increase your risk of developing venous insufficiency. The most notable risk factors for venous disease include age, gender, pregnancy, family history, excess body weight, and standing or sitting occupations.