September 23, 2021
The life of a vein must be tough. With blood flowing through the body 24/7, veins must feel a lot of pressure - especially having to push against the force of gravity to send blood back to the heart. It all sounds like a lot of hard work.
Blood flow to the heart is a crucial function of the circulatory system. We are 100% dependent on a functioning heart just to stay alive, so what the heart wants, it must have: oxygen, water and nutrients.
However, when the veins are not quite so healthy due to factors like increased blood pressure, this can lead to a weakening of your vein walls and valves, and varicose veins can start to form throughout the body, particularly in the legs. Factors that make one more prone to varicose veins include lifestyle, age, pregnancy, and family history.
This is why we think that if veins could speak about these different risk factors, they would probably give us a piece of their mind about what we’re doing to them…
Exercise is important for boosting blood circulation but, if you have varicose veins, some kinds of exercise can be too intense, and high-impact activities such as heavy weight-lifting can actually end up causing further damage to your veins. Walking, cycling and doing squats are low-intensity and low-impact exercises that will help promote healthy blood flow.
But, if you decide to take on a high-impact, high-intensity physical activity that further strains your veins, you can expect your veins to be angry - and rightfully so! Here’s what they would probably say:
“Hey Debbie, did you really think you could do that without causing more damage to us? I thought I made myself clear when I took my sisters to the surface of your skin a month ago. We’ve been sitting there ever since. I thought you would have been far more considerate.
For the umpteenth time, while you should most definitely exercise to get the blood flowing through us, please avoid such intense and high-impact activities like marathons and powerlifting.”
When you lose count of how many weeks of lockdown have passed and you’ve been leaning on comfort food a bit too much, that may negatively impact your veins.
High sodium foods like processed meats, soups, pickles and crisps can increase your blood pressure, and “empty calories” like simple sugars and carbs that are rich in trans and saturated fats also lead to weight gain. This in turn places more pressure on the veins. So if you’re halfway into your second family-sized bag of crisps on the same day, your veins will feel a little burdened.
“Andy, are you going to stop eating crisps today? It’s been three hours straight. We’re feeling a bit suffocated. The fat could be linked to this pressure which we’re struggling with. We’re starting to feel a bit squeezed and, well, we’ve always been a tad claustrophobic. Could you please give us some space?”
Pregnancy is one of the major risk factors that leads to varicose veins. This is because the expanding uterus applies growing pressure on the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from the feet and legs.
Wearing compression tights can help, and most of the time the varicose veins disappear a few months after childbirth. But still, it must be a bewildering experience for your veins when there is another human growing inside your body.
“Uh-oh. What is going on? I feel like there’s actually more blood pumping through me right now. Hey Samantha… did you know that a change of diet can help prevent us from being damaged? Check out this article on 5 recipes to help during pregnancy.”
The older you are, the more likely it is that you’ll develop varicose veins. This is usually due to a weakening of venous walls and valves, causing blood to pool in the veins over time.
This is a common phenomenon, so you should remain active and eat healthily to manage any symptoms you may experience.
“The pooling has been excessive lately. Back in the day, my walls were so sturdy the blood flowed through so swimmingly! Now, things are feeling somewhat convoluted. I wish you would start a new hobby like this Nordic walking trend.”
Family history is one of the main risk factors for varicose veins. If it runs in your family, you are more likely to develop vein disease. While there isn’t much you can do to prevent varicose veins if you are genetically predisposed to the condition, you can maintain a nutritious diet, sleep well, exercise daily and lead an overall healthy lifestyle.
“Sharon, I’m experiencing a wave of déjà vu - don’t these veins look so familiar to you? We both know what happens next...so why don’t you do us both a favour and go to see a specialist?”
Even though there are many things you can do to help manage your varicose vein symptoms, there is no substitute for treatment. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures to get rid of your varicose veins.