Are You at Risk for Varicose Veins?
Many people go to extreme lengths to cover varicose veins. They make sure to sit with their knees uncrossed. They regularly massage their legs to improve circulation. And they elevate their feet at the end of the day.
While some of these habits do improve overall health, they do little to affect the risk of varicose veins. Despite extra precautions, some men and women have a higher likelihood of experiencing the condition. The following factors, in particular, increase that risk.
1. You Are Expecting
During pregnancy, your blood production skyrockets to support you and your growing baby. While your blood vessels and veins widen somewhat to accommodate the extra blood flow, the added volume still strains the tiny veins. Additionally, your growing uterus will gradually put more and more pressure on the pelvic blood vessels, creating the perfect environment for varicose veins.
Fortunately, many pregnancy-related varicose veins fade after delivery.
2. Your Job Keeps You on Your Toes or off Your Feet
Although popular belief asserts that sitting for extended stretches leads to varicose veins, experts have found that this belief is only partly true. Both those who sit for hours and those who stand for most of the day suffer from the same condition.
Varicose veins result from increased blood pressure and from weakened or damaged valves. When you sit or stand for too long, the blood pools in your leg veins. As the pressure builds, the veins stretch and weaken.
To ensure good circulation, take a few minutes every hour to give your legs a break. If you work as a
hairdresser, grocer, or teacher, give yourself a few minutes to sit and relax. In contrast, if you are a
writer, receptionist, or web developer, stand up, stretch, and walk around every hour.
3. You Are Over 50
Many people associate varicose veins with the elderly. Although younger men and women can see these veins, adults over 50 tend to bemoan the blue, swollen marks on their legs, calves, and ankles more than their younger counterparts.
This higher likelihood results from fluctuating hormones. During menopause, women experience a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone. As progesterone plays a role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure, a drop in progesterone often triggers a rise in blood pressure, putting many menopausal women at risk for hypertension. As hypertension causes increased pressure on the veins, many women see varicose veins as a result.
Similarly, during andropause, men experience a drop in testosterone. This drop occurs more gradually than the hormone fluctuations in women, but it nonetheless has a profound effect on male health. Experts have found that men with low testosterone tend to have much higher blood pressure, which in turn contributes to or aggravates varicose veins.
As you age, you’ll want to keep in close contact with your doctor to ensure your hormone production
remains at a healthy level.
4. You Are Overweight
While a few extra pounds might not seem like much, they can cause lasting damage if left unchecked. The more weight you carry, the harder your body has to work to ensure proper blood flow and circulation.
If you are overweight, your extra pounds put additional pressure on your veins, making them more prone to leak. To make matters worse, obesity often accompanies a variety of other health complications and lifestyle choices that contribute to varicose veins, such as high blood pressure and lack of physical activity.
To keep your blood flowing at its best, you’ll need to eat a healthy diet, participate in regular exercise, and follow your doctor’s recommendations for staying in shape.
Talk to a Professional About Your Varicose Veins
While you can’t eliminate or avoid some factors that contribute to varicose veins, you can treat the
condition and alleviate the pain associated with varicose veins. Stop by a medical clinic that specializes in vein treatment. The right professionals can pinpoint the primary cause of your varicose veins and recommend a reliable way to correct the problem and improve circulation.