Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from varicose veins. After deciding on the best vein treatment for these abnormal blood vessels, many patients want to know how to prevent additional ones from forming. Individuals who have not developed these unwanted veins seek to avoid the cosmetic and health issues linked to them. This is particularly important when elevated risk factors are present.
Varicose Vein Risk Factors
Abnormal leg veins affect 50 percent of Americans who are at least 50 years old, according to the Office on Women’s Health. As many as 55 percents of U.S. females and up to 45 percent of males experience some kind vein issue.
Complications of vein disease can create significant discomfort and medical issues when defective valves prevent veins from properly doing their job of returning blood from the extremities to the heart. Among the possible results are throbbing and pain, skin ulcers, blood clots, and the appearance of ropelike bulging veins.
Certain factors boost an individual’s risk. The University of California San Francisco cites these important considerations:
- Approximately 50 percent of individuals with a family history develop a varicose vein problem.
- Advancing age adds wear and tear to vein valves.
- Hormonal changes associated with being the female elevate risk.
- Pregnancy adds pressure to leg veins.
- Carrying extra pounds can exert unwanted pressure on veins.
- Sitting or standing for long periods, particularly with the legs crossed or bent, causes extra work for veins pumping blood back to the heart.
Steps for Avoiding Varicose Veins
Individuals can take a number of self-care steps to help prevent the development of varicose vessels. Many of them are also helpful for relieving discomfort when these veins are already present. The Office on Women’s Health recommends these lifestyle changes:
- Shedding extra pounds to avoid excess pressure on leg veins
- Whenever possible, elevating legs when at rest
- Avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods, or at least shift weight from one limb to the other periodically
- Exercising on a regular basis to boost leg and vein strength and circulation
- Avoiding crossing the legs when seated for a long time
- Trading high heels worn for long periods for shoes with lower heels that help tone muscles in the calf and foster better blood movement through veins
- Following a low-salt diet that includes plenty of foods high in fiber to avoid constipation, which sometimes contributes to varicose vessel formation
- Wearing support stockings recommended by a vein doctor and fitted by a trained individual
- Steering clear of clothing that fits the legs, groin, or waist tightly
It is especially important for patients who have undergone vein treatment to realize that no therapy to eliminate unwanted vessels can prevent the formation of new ones. Fortunately, however, individuals can take a number of specific steps to help them avoid new problem veins.