September 23, 2021
There are many factors that can lead to the development of varicose veins and once they have been allowed to form, it is highly unlikely that they will disappear without treatment. With this in mind, prevention can often be the best cure.
We have listed 5 potential causes of varicose veins, and the steps that you can take to counter them.
Are you on your feet a lot?
Being on your feet all day is exhausting, even if you’re not moving about all that much. By the end of the day you’re probably dying to rest or relax your aching bones. The problem faced in this situation is the effects of gravity on your blood flow.
As you remain standing, your heart is working extra hard against the force of gravity and may result in your blood pooling in your legs which can lead to a weakening of your vein valves, potentially causing venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
However there are some simple (literal) steps you can take to avoid this; something as simple as taking a stroll around the office or doing a few gentle stretches are enough to get your blood pumping properly again. Alternatively, compression stockings are widely available and can greatly reduce the risk of varicose veins.
How much time do you spend sitting down?
Somewhat counter-intuitively, remaining sat in one position for too long can be just as detrimental to your health as being on your feet all day and is likely to be a lot more common. Many of us are stuck at our desks from morning until night with few opportunities to stretch our legs.
Once again it is important to take some time to walk somewhere, even if it is only around the workspace a few times or down to the shops, to prevent swollen ankles, varicose veins and even something as serious as deep vein thrombosis.
If it isn’t possible to find a chance to go for a stroll, then try to keep your legs elevated as best you can; resting your feet on another chair will reduce the pressure on your heart and prevent gravity from putting your veins through too much stress.
Are you a little older than you’d like?
Getting older is a fact of life, albeit not a very welcome one. As we age, we begin to feel the wear and tear on our bodies and of course this applies to the heart. Where once our hearts could pump like clockwork all day, during later years they have to work a little harder.
Staying active is important regardless of age, but it is vital in the elderly to keep things running smoothly. And exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous! There are plenty of scenic walks across Britain that you can spend a day exploring while being rewarded with some incredible views. If that’s not your thing, then swimming is a perfect full body workout that engages muscles you might not have used in a long time.
As you age, be sure to keep an eye on anything that looks out of the ordinary. If you notice that your veins are discoloured or bulging, then visit your GP as soon as possible.
Could you stand to shed a few pounds?
People who are overweight can often find themselves at a higher risk of developing varicose veins, as extra weight increases strain on the heart and forces it to work harder in order to keep your blood pumping.
When it comes to losing weight, you don’t have to drastically alter your lifestyle; many people don’t have the time to regularly go to the gym and some aren’t too fond of strenuous exercise. If this sounds familiar, we have an article for those who aren’t keen on exercise.
Your diet also plays an important role in keeping your veins healthy; if changing your diet seems more like something you would be able to do to lose weight, information on the foods that can help can be found in our blog post on the topic.
Are you pregnant?
When pregnant, you are literally carrying an extra person around with you, and the weight of that extra person is going to put extra strain on your heart. For this reason, it is vital that pregnant people stay off their feet as much as possible, but this then raises the risks associated with staying sat down for too long. How, then, can you be expected to do the right thing?
It may sound obvious, but avoid wearing high heels; stick to flats as much as possible and, if you absolutely must wear those new shoes, don’t stay in them for long. The design of high heels prevents the leg muscles from working properly and can keep blood resting in the veins. In order to ensure your leg muscles and blood vessels are working effectively, maternity stockings work in much the same way as compression stockings and help to keep your legs healthy.
During pregnancy, you’re likely to hear the old adage about you ‘eating for two’ until you’re sick of hearing it. However, it is important to remember that not only is this true, but your dietary needs are going to shift during this time too. If you would like to learn more about what foods to eat while pregnant to keep the risk of varicose veins to a minimum, then you can read our blog on the subject here.