VEIN HEALTH ISSUES
VARICOSE AND SPIDER VEIN PREVENTION
Exercise daily. Activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, and climbing stairs keep the calf muscles in motion and activate the calf muscle pump. This reduces pooling and pressure in the veins.
Move your legs frequently. Flexing your ankles periodically will pump the blood out of your legs (simulating walking). During periods of prolonged sitting or standing, flex your ankles 10 times every 10 minutes. Try to avoid sitting for extended periods throughout the day.
Wear support compression hose. These stockings provide external graduated counterpressure to aid in venous blood flow to the heart. They reduce pooling and pressure in the veins. They also may reduce the risk of forming a deep-vein blood clot. Consider wearing them during long car or plane rides.
Maintain your ideal body weight to reduce excess pressure on your legs.
Avoid prolonged sitting and standing. On long car or plane trips, activate your calf muscle pump by moving your feet up and down frequently as described above. You should also consider stopping for short walks every few hours.
Elevate your legs when possible, keeping your feet positioned higher than your heart.
Avoid excessive heat on your legs, such as hot tubs and hot baths. Heat tends to increase vein distention and lead to more pooling of blood.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF VARICOSE AND SPIDER VEINS
Heredity. There is a significant relationship between heredity and the development of varicose and spider veins.
Age. The development of varicose and spider veins may occur at any age but usually happens between age 18 and 35 and peaks between 50 and 60, when the elasticity of the walls along the veins may become weakened.
Gender. Females are affected more than males by a ratio of approximately four to one.
Hormonal changes. Pregnancy is a common factor contributing to the formation of varicose and spider veins. The most important factor is circulating hormones that weaken vein walls. There is also a significant increase in blood volume during pregnancy. This tends to distend veins, causing valve dysfunction, which leads to blood pooling in the veins. Additionally, later in pregnancy the enlarged uterus can compress veins, causing higher vein pressure, leading to dilated veins. Varicose veins that form during pregnancy may spontaneously improve or even disappear a few months after delivery. Menopause and birth control pills can also contribute to hormonal fluxes, which affect or weaken the vein walls.
Lifestyle or occupation. People whose daily activities involve prolonged sitting or standing have an increased risk of developing varicose veins.
Obesity. A sedentary lifestyle and an overweight body can contribute to the development of both varicose and spider veins. Oregon Surgical Specialists recognizes the importance of weight management in the overall health of our patients. For those who may be morbidly obese, we offer the Southern Oregon Bariactic Center.
Although the exact causes of varicose and spider veins are not completely understood,
we do know that several lifestyle choices may help reduce or delay
the development of these venous health issues.