How to Prevent Varicose Veins
Varicose veins develop for a variety of reasons. Different risk factors for developing varicose veins include age, sex, obesity, medication, and sedentary lifestyles. While some factors such as family history or age are impossible to avoid, there are some things you can do to learn how to avoid varicose veins as much as possible.
A few simple lifestyle changes may be all you need for how to prevent varicose veins or stop them from worsening. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
What Are Varicose Veins?
First off, what are varicose veins? Learning how to prevent varicose veins is easier to do once you’re aware of what they are. Varicose veins, also often referred to as spider veins, are enlarged or swollen veins that most commonly appear on the legs and feet. They’re what happens when the valves in your veins aren’t working properly and the blood does not flow effectively. This can lead to superficial veins in your body becoming dark purple or blue in color and being visible at the surface of your skin.
Varicose veins rarely require medical treatment but may if swelling, aching, or leg pain develops. If you experience discomfort from varicose veins, consult your doctor for guidance and any necessary treatment plan.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Before we jump into how to prevent varicose veins let’s also take a look at what causes them. These visible veins tend to develop in the legs and feet as they’re the veins furthest from the heart and have the most pressure on them from standing, sitting, and walking.
There are many factors that may contribute to your risk of developing varicose veins including:
- Standing or sitting for long periods
- Being over age 50
- Family history of varicose veins
- Medications such as birth control or hormone replacement
While both men and women are at risk for developing varicose veins, they do tend to affect women more often as there are more risk factors for women. In fact, statistics show that roughly 75% of varicose vein cases are women compared to 25% being found in men.
Learning How to Prevent Varicose Veins: What Can I Do?
When learning how to prevent varicose veins you’ll find there’s often little risk associated with them. While there are some rare, but serious, potential health concerns that may arise, often they’re more of an aesthetic concern people want to minimize or avoid.
A few simple lifestyle adjustments you can make as part of ways to prevent varicose veins include:
- Exercising and staying active
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Elevating your feet while relaxing
- Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing
- Considering compression garments
Exercise for Varicose Veins
It likely comes as no surprise that exercise kicks off our list of ways to prevent varicose veins. Staying active isn’t just a potentially effective method for how to prevent varicose veins but is essential to your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
You don’t have to do full body workout exercises for hours each day for it to be effective, either. Being active for 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week has been shown to help boost your immune system, facilitate better circulation, and even improve heart health naturally. Leading an active lifestyle is also helpful for how to prevent obesity and improve lung function. It’s a huge win for your body!
Diet for Varicose Veins
Speaking of how being active can help maintain a healthy weight, that’s next on our list of how to prevent varicose veins. Being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on your veins. Additionally, having low muscle mass and high body fat decreases the support for the veins, which can lead to varicose veins developing.
Adopting a healthy diet for varicose veins doesn’t have to be a major overhaul. Instead of giving up different food groups, it can be simple substitutions that do the trick. For example, choosing whole wheat flour, bread, and pasta instead of those with white flour is an easy place to start. Reducing refined sugar intake in favor of natural sugars from foods like fruit is another. Processed sugar adds stress to your vascular system and is a simple thing to avoid when learning ways to prevent varicose veins.
Does Elevating Your Legs Help With Varicose Veins?
In short, yes! Elevating your legs may help with how to prevent varicose veins if you’re doing it properly. When you elevate your legs at or above heart level, it helps keep the blood from pooling in your lower legs and improves blood flow to the rest of your body.
To elevate your legs you can use a pillow while lying back or consider a modern recliner like a zero gravity chair. Unlike traditional recliners that may only elevate your legs slightly and inadvertently cause excess pressure on your lower back, zero gravity chairs elevate the legs above the heart level and may improve poor circulation throughout the body. The zero gravity position also helps alleviate pressure on your lower back and pelvic area.
In addition to elevating your legs, other potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs include sciatica treatment, back pain relief, and enhancements to how the body heals itself. Some bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners like vibration or air pressure massage and heat therapy may help deepen your relaxation and promote better blood flow, as well.
Varicose Veins from Sitting or Standing Too Long
The next item in our guide for how to prevent varicose veins is to avoid sitting or standing too long. Sitting or standing in one position for a prolonged period of time makes it more difficult for blood to travel through the veins in your legs efficiently. This can cause blood to pool around your ankles, resulting in swollen calves and feet.
If you are sitting down, finding ways to avoid pain from sitting too long is as simple as remembering to shift your position and stand every so often to get the blood moving. If you’re using a zero gravity chair for elevating your legs, you’re a step ahead as you’re already potentially improving blood flow as you sit back and relax! Being mindful to change bad sitting habits into good ones is one of the easiest ways to prevent varicose veins from developing or getting worse.
Conversely, standing in one position too long can have the same negative effect on the blood flow in your legs. Be sure to move around every so often (at least once every 30 minutes) to promote better circulation.
Compression for Varicose Veins
Last, but not least, on our list of techniques for how to prevent varicose veins is with compression garments. Hose or compression socks for varicose veins may help keep vein valves in the correct position. This helps them function properly and reduce blood pooling, swelling, or pain in your legs.
There are different levels of compression garment ranging from mild to extra firm depending on the damage to your veins. If you’re considering compression for varicose veins, speak to your physician to determine the right garments for you to wear.
As you’ve learned, knowing how to prevent varicose veins (or stop them from getting worse) may be accomplished with a few lifestyle adjustments. While varicose veins tend to be harmless and more of a cosmetic concern, it’s important to consult your doctor if you feel any discomfort from them as it may be treatable. You may not be able to stop varicose veins completely depending on some factors beyond your control, but taking steps such as staying active, wearing compression garments, or choosing a zero gravity chair for better circulation may make a huge difference!
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