We’ve already delved into what causes varicose veins, so you may know that most factors that will determine whether or not you’re affected by the ailment, can’t be controlled. These uncontrolled causes include gender, age and family medical history. Thankfully though, there are factors you can do something about, so if you find yourself predisposed to the condition, read on to find out lifestyle factors that can influence the likelihood of you developing varicose veins or spider veins, and find out what you can do to prevent – or at least delay – their onset.
Being obese or even overweight can put an added pressure on the veins in your legs. The buildup of fat in your limbs surrounds and squeezes the vein, and valves can start to malfunction. When this happens, blood can start to backflow and then pool, causing the veins to become noticeably varicose.
How to fix it: Get regular exercise (which will also help your blood flow!) and maintain a healthy diet. Not only does this lead to a healthier overall lifestyle but it also helps with blood pressure (which can affect the strength of your veins) as well.
Prolonged standing or sitting
Sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time can prohibit your blood from flowing as efficiently as it would with regular movement. Not only is maintaining one of these positions for a long time uncomfortable, but it makes your veins work harder to pump blood up to your heart. The added effort can lead to the veins becoming swollen and varicose.
How to fix it: There are plenty of smartphone apps or wearable pieces out there that will alert you when you’ve been inactive – invest in one. Or at the very least, set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 to 60 minutes to alert you to change your position. If you’ve been sitting at a desk, go for a short walk whenever it goes off; if you’ve been standing, ask to take a break and go sit down for five minutes.
Whether it’s pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills, hormones can influence the appearance of varicose and spider veins. Pregnancy, in particular, can increase the likelihood of developing them because the volume of the blood in a woman’s body increases during pregnancy, but the blood flow from her legs to pelvis does not – resulting in the veins becoming swollen, especially towards the end of pregnancy. And again, changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can also add to the likelihood of developing varicose veins.
How to fix it: We would never tell you not to get pregnant or take birth control (and clearly, you can’t help going through menopause), but you can talk to a doctor about your hormone levels. If varicose veins are a concern bring it up with your general physician and they may be able to help you maintain healthy hormone levels.
It’s important to note though, varicose veins aren’t completely preventable, so if you find them showing up or already have them, give Dr. Jeffrey Gosin at Shore Vascular & Vein Center a call at (609) 927-VEIN (8346) or visit the Somers Point office for more information, to get diagnosed or to receive treatments.