Varicose veins are veins whose valves are incompetent so that the veins have become swollen with pooled blood. They have become bulged, twisted, purple or blue in color, and visible through the skin. The valves which prevent the backward flow of blood within the blood vessels keep blood flowing back towards the heart. However, when these valves get so weak they become unable to prevent backward blood flow, blood pools in veins behind these weakened valves. Valves in legs are especially prone to this weakening as they have to fight the forces of gravity to keep blood flowing back towards the heart.
Although it is inevitable that some people develop varicose veins due to what is thought to be genetic or hormonal influences, you can still take measures to avoid the development of varicose veins.
Varicose Vein Prevention Tips
- Avoid standing for long periods of time without rest. The same goes for sitting: Standing without resting every now and then will put unnecessary strain on the legs, weakening valves. Sitting for long periods of time without getting up every now and then will encourage the pooling of blood.
- Participate in regular physical exercise. Make sure that you incorporate activities that keep your heart rate going, as well as activities that target muscle development within the legs to keep valves in the legs strong and healthy, which can go a long way in varicose vein prevention.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese will put unnecessary pressure on your legs, contributing to the weakening of valves in the legs. Losing weight will help reduce the amount of pressure felt in the legs as well as improve the flow of blood all throughout the body, especially the legs.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes and heels. Tight clothes, especially those tight around the legs, groin, upper thighs and waist will impede the ability of valves to effectively keep blood flowing. Wearing heels for long periods of time can put unnecessary stress on your legs, potentially weakening the valves. You should try to wear lower-heeled shoes instead, as they can not only decrease the amount of stress on your legs but also help improve muscles tone in your calves.
- Quit smoking and all other tobacco products. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can lead to poor blood circulation and high blood pressure, both of which are conditions that can exacerbate the formation of varicose veins. Quitting smoking and other tobacco products will improve the flow of blood as well as reduce blood pressure.
If varicose veins have already developed, don’t worry! Because untreated vein disease can lead to complications such as ulcers, bleeding and clots, see a doctor to have your varicose veins checked. Phlebologists such as Dr. Wright are fully capable of providing comprehensive diagnosis and varicose vein treatments as well as other vein disease treatments in St. Louis.