There’s no surefire way to prevent varicose veins. But there are things you can do to lower your chances of developing these bulging, twisted, rope-like veins. If you currently have varicose veins, treatments are available to reduce their appearance and reduce your risk of developing new ones.
Board-certified cardiovascular physician Dr. Majed Chane and our clinical team at CA Heart and Vein Specialists in Huntington Beach, California, are dedicated to helping you keep your heart and the rest of your circulatory system as healthy as possible. Veins play a key role in carrying deoxygenated blood toward the heart.
Varicose veins are often a sign of underlying circulatory issues. Here, our experts have outlined some practical steps you can take to lower your risk of varicose veins.
Varicose vein basics
Varicose veins are very common; an estimated 40 million American adults have varicose veins. The blue, bulging veins develop when the valves in your leg veins — meant to keep blood flowing toward your heart — weaken or become damaged. This causes blood to pool, adding pressure to the vein walls, which eventually weaken under pressure causing a twisting, bulging appearance.
The risk of varicose veins increases with age, and people with a family history of varicose veins are more likely to develop them as well. Other risk factors include:
- Standing or sitting for long periods
While genetic susceptibility is the main risk factor for varicose veins, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. These steps involve promoting good blood flow and reducing the stain and pressure on your veins.
Engaging in physical activity is one of the best things you can do to keep your heart and circulatory system healthy. Your body was meant to move. Exercise promotes good blood flow to and from the muscles in your legs. This helps your heart work better and improves your circulation.
There’s no need to spend hours in the gym. Low impact exercise that involves your legs can have a significant impact. Walking just 30 minutes a day is a good place to start. You can even break this up into 10-minute walks three times a day. As you adapt to getting more physical activity, you can gradually increase your total to 45 minutes.
With 70% of US men and women falling into the category of overweight or obese, carrying excess body fat is a major health threat on many levels. Too much fat has a harmful effect on just about every organ and system in the body, including your heart and circulatory system.
When you’re heavy, your heart must work harder to circulate blood throughout your body, putting a strain on your veins. If you’re overweight, talk to your health care provider about the best way to get your weight to within a healthy range.
Maintain healthy blood pressure
Elevated blood pressure increases the force against your veins and burdens your heart and circulatory system. Sodium consumption contributes to high blood pressure, so keeping your salt intake in check goes a long way.
Most Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium. The recommended intake is less than 2,300 mg and many people can benefit from limiting sodium to 1,500 mg per day. If you have high blood pressure, work with Dr. Chane to get your blood pressure in check.
Boost your fiber intake
If you’re like most Americans, you aren’t getting the recommended intake of fiber. A healthy goal is to eat 25-30 mg of fiber from nutritious sources each day, but the average American gets only about 15 mg of fiber.
Among its benefits, fiber promotes healthy digestion, lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugar, and promotes healthy weight. Did you know that a low fiber diet contributes to varicose veins?
A low fiber diet reduces bowel health and causes constipation and dry, hard stools. Straining during bowel movements increases pressure on the veins in your lower legs, increasing your risk of varicose veins.
Your vascular health is our top priority. Use the steps in this article to promote healthy veins and circulation, and discuss your vascular needs and varicose veins treatment options with Dr. Chane. Call 657-206-8491 to schedule an appointment, or request a booking online.