Prevention is always better: How to minimize risk of having varicose veins

Image via AllHealthGo via YouTube
  • Varicose veins  usually don’t cause any pain and are more common in women
  • A large number of men could have varicose veins, too
  • The medical researchers tell us that there is no sure way to prevent the formation of varicose veins, BUT there are a number of things we can do to decrease our chances of developing these protruding veins

Don’t laugh, but it’s true that a neighbor-friend of mine was hanging some clothes to dry in the sun when suddenly two of their roaming chickens pecked on her legs which has worm-like varicose veins.  Oh yes!  Real worm-size veins at the back of her legs!

Her family had a laughter-filled afternoon, but afterwards, she was feeling more worried owing to the rope-like protrusions which sometimes hurt.  She has decided never  to wear skirts or shorts anymore (thanks to those chickens!).

Image via Maki Trip video/ YouTube

Varicose veins  usually don’t cause any pain and are more common in women, but they also affect a large number of men, too.  You see, as we get older, it isn’t unlikely for us to also develop  varicose veins, but of course, varicose veins can form at any age, especially when it runs in the family.

With some women, varicose veins  first appear or become more prominent during their menstruation period  or  when they become pregnant.  Some people don’t even have painful symptoms at all; just cosmetic concerns.   Some aren’t even sure if they can identify varicose veins at all.

Identifying varicose veins is relatively easy:

  • Appearance –  when your veins are protruding, appear twisted or bulging from under the skin; looks like cords and usually dark purple or bluish in color
  • When there’s an achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • When there’s some burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • When pain becomes worse  after prolonged standing or even sitting
  • When you experience severe pain upon standing or may also have cramps in the legs at night
  • When you feel some itching around one or more of your veins

When skin ulcers develop near your ankle, it may indicate a serious form of vascular disease which requires medical attention ASAP! See your doctor.

Image Credit: US Ayushveda

Can varicose veins be prevented?

The medical researchers tell us that there is no sure way to prevent the formation of varicose veins, BUT there are a number of things we can do to decrease our chances of developing these protruding veins.

What we need to do:

  • Exercise regularly ; walk or jog to  improve circulation in the legs, and  ward off varicose veins.
  • Avoid prolonged standing  because standing in one place for a long time increases venous pressure in your legs and feet, which could weaken the blood vessel walls.   If your work or tasks requires you to stand a lot, and you have exhausted all appeals to do your work sitting down, you might as well resort to wearing mild compression stockings to help your blood pump more efficiently back to the heart.
  • Aspire to have an ideal body weight   in order to promote efficient  functioning of your circulatory system.   Obesity may cause you to  put excess pressure on your legs.  Develop healthy eating habits to reap a whole host of health benefits, and subsequently reduce your risk on developing varicose vein.
  • Stop lighting those cigars.totally because  it contributes to numerous health problems. High blood pressure associated with smoking is also one of the causes of varicose veins.
  • Put your feet up for a while  after prolonged standing  in order to  relax your legs; and thereby improve circulation when elevating your legs and feet for several minutes throughout the day or after your work shift.   You may also try using an inversion table or elevating the foot of your bed so that your feet are slightly higher than your head when you sleep to take pressure off your legs and let gravity act on your body differently from time to time to help prevent blood from pooling in the veins.
Image via Doc Willie Ong video/ YouTube
  • Include high-fiber foods in your diet  such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains like bran because constipation may also contribute to varicose veins.
  • Control your salt-intake because salt or sodium can cause you to retain water or swell, and may extend to the veins on your legs.
  • Do some wardrobe review and  set aside (or give away) those  tight-fitting jeans and clothes which restricts appropriate circulation to your lower body.
  • Avoid wearing of high heels as much as possible  because the  stress  on your lower legs can cause a constriction in blood flow from the leg back to the heart.   Comfortable, low-heeled and properly fitted shoes are preferable for healthy feet and legs.
  • Sit up straight as what our teachers always tell us in school; constantly reminding us that good posture improves circulation.
  • Wear compression stockings or support hose to help your blood pump more efficiently back to the heart, especially when you are starting to develop varicose veins.   Make sure you get the proper fit and compression level.

  • Keep your legs uncrossed when sitting because  crossing your legs slows down the upward flow of blood back to the heart and increases the pressure on the insides of your leg veins.
  • Minimize or totally avoid high-estrogen birth control pills which have been shown to increase the risk of varicose veins by altering circulatory valve functioning.   Ask your doctor about other options.

The tips enumerated above could  help prevent varicose veins from developing or worsening and may substantially reduce the size and minimize the pain felt from the existing ones, but do seek medical assistance as soon as you can if you experience severe pain.

There are available treatments such as:  sclerotherapy, laser surgery, and vein stripping, but of course, as always >>> ‘prevention is better than cure”  (and pecking chickens???)  Lol

Meanwhile, let’s learn from Dr. Edgar Galinanes, Vascular Surgeon with Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, as he explains with a 3D image the different stages varicose veins have.