Varicose veins are swollen veins, primarily located in the legs. Although most varicose veins are simply unsightly, severe or deep varicose veins can cause pain and swelling, ulcers in the skin around the ankles, and an increased risk of blood clots, which can lead to leg amputation and death from pulmonary embolisms. Varicose veins can be treated by a variety of different techniques, but as is so often the case, prevention is a far better course of action.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins occur due to pooling of blood in the veins. Normally, valves in the veins prevent blood from pooling in the lower limbs. However, the body relies on the pumping action of the calf muscles to help move blood out of the veins in the lower legs, and standing or sitting for long periods of time can result in blood pooling.
Genetics also play a role in varicose veins. The hormonal and physiological changes that occur during pregnancy can also weaken the vein walls and encourage blood pooling in the legs, leading to varicose veins.
Prevention of Varicose Veins
There are many lifestyle changes that individuals can make to help prevent varicose veins. Some of these are:
- Exercise regularly; this improves circulation in the legs and helps prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
- Avoid high-heeled shoes; this prevents the calf muscles from contracting properly with each step, which prevents the calf muscle from pumping blood out of the legs. High-heeled shoes may be “cute” but the many health problems they cause are not. Look for shoes with a minimal to zero heel drop.
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time causes blood to pool in the legs. If possible, take a break and walk around briefly every 15 minutes.
- Wear compression hose; this prevents blood from pooling in the legs by applying pressure to the calf and ankle.
Compression hose come in a variety of strengths, colors, and styles. Individuals who have to stand or sit most of the day should strongly consider wearing them, as should individuals with close relatives who have varicose veins. Women should also consider wearing them during pregnancy.
It is a good idea to discuss the necessary degree of compression and selection of fit with a professional. Lifestyle changes and regular use of compression hose can prevent unsightly, painful varicose veins from developing.
Contact Fox Vein Experts today to schedule a consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help you choose the compression hose appropriate for your needs.