Varicose veins can be painful and unsightly, but they can be managed and treated. One way to use the right tools to manage your risks is to know about the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of varicose veins. In our last blog, we discussed the risk factors of age and pregnancy. In this week’s blog, we will continue with sex, family history, and weight in this week’s blog. We are Venocure, and we diagnose and treat varicose veins. We also offer a number of diagnostic tests for vascular problems. Call our office today to learn more.
Women develop varicose veins far more often than men. The factors for this are threefold: regular female hormones relax the vein walls, the additional blood volume that a woman’s body pumps during pregnancy, and hormones that are released during pregnancy increase the elasticity of the veins even more. These factors make women more likely to have varicose veins.
Just as the ability to curl your tongue is inherited, so is the tendency to have veins that are faulty. If your mother or father has varicose veins, you have an increased risk of developing them yourself.
When your weight falls into the obese range, you are putting extra pressure on your body. Your heart is pumping more blood, and your bones are carrying more weight. Your veins must also work harder. When you have a larger body, you’ll have more blood, at a rate of 2 ounces per every additional 2 pounds. This increased volume will put more pressure on your veins and stretch them out. Varicose veins are more likely to occur under these circumstances.
High Blood Pressure
The question of how blood pressure affects varicose veins is a bit like the chicken or the egg question. As valves in the veins fail, and the volume of blood in that segment is increased, the blood pressure in that segment is increased. This extra pressure can damage the valve under the blood volume and so the valve fails and the pressure in the next segment down has increased pressure. High blood pressure itself is a vascular disease but which one comes first is a bit of a moot point. Both need to be managed and treated.
Your circulation system depends on the muscles of the legs to pump blood back up to the heart after the oxygen has been delivered to the extremities. If you don’t move, your muscles are not pumping the blood, and your blood will be more likely to pool in the veins and put more pressure on the valves at the bottom of the veins’ segment, which in turn causes them to fail. If you stand for long periods or sit, especially with your legs crossed, you are increasing your chances of developing varicose veins.
Take Control of your Veins!
Just because you have the risk factors, or have been diagnosed with them, doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from the painful, unsightly varicose veins that can make your legs look like roadmaps. There are things you can do to minimize your risks of developing varicose veins.
- Wear compression hose to give your veins help. Compression hose are stockings that are stronger than ordinary support hose that you can buy at the store. You can put them on before you get out of bed in the morning and wear them all day when you know you’ll be standing or during your pregnancy.
- Put your feet up! Elevating your legs puts gravity to work and helps return your blood back to your heart. Even if your legs are not above your heart, elevating them three to four times a day for periods of 15 minutes will improve your circulation.
- If you are overweight, varicose veins give you an extra reason to get to a healthy weight. When you lose weight, your varicose veins will be relieved to a point.
- If you are not currently active, you can start to walk or run to help improve your overall vascular health. Your leg muscles work to pump blood back up to your heart, so the more you exercise them, the better they will function in this capacity.
- When you have to sit for prolonged periods, sit with your legs uncrossed and get up regularly to walk around and stretch your legs.
- Wear clothes that do not restrict your blood flow. Pants that fit tightly around your groin area and knees cut off blood flow and can lead to varicose veins.
If, despite all your efforts, you are diagnosed with varicose veins, there are several medical treatments that can alleviate the painful, burning sensations they cause. Venocure in Dearborn and Brownstown offers compression stockings, sclerotherapy, and radiofrequency ablation to treat varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is the injection of a liquid that causes the vein to collapse and be absorbed by the body and radio ablation is a way of cauterizing the vein, after which it will be reabsorbed by the body. To find out more about these highly effective treatments, call one of our offices and make an appointment.