We all know that blood circulates throughout our body, but have you ever thought about the role gravity plays in our circulation? Any time we stand up, the blood flowing from our legs back to our heart fights a constant uphill battle. Some leg veins have the support of our bones and muscle to help the climb, while other leg veins rely on valves. Varicose veins happen when the valves weaken, and some of the blood is allowed to flow back down toward the feet. Prolonged standing is one of the 4 most common risk factors for varicose veins. Click here to learn more about the other 3 risk factors. At The Vein Institute, we've noticed a pattern. There are 4 professions that come up again and again in our office that require prolonged standing- increasing the risk of varicose veins. Teachers Keeping student's attention at the front of the room often means spending the day standing at the chalkboard. Nurses While taking care of others, nurses are on their feet the whole day. A constant stream of patients allows very little rest. Servers Although serving requires a lot of walking, which helps blood flow, long hours on a hard restaurant floor add up. Hairdressers Stylists have little need to walk around, since their clients are stationary. Back to back appointments mean 8 or more hours in the same spot. Besides prolonged standing, these 4 professions have something else in common- they are all female dominated. Pregnancy is another risk factor. At The Vein Institute, we've learned that pregnancy and one of these 4 professions is a combination that will likely lead to vein problems. If you've identified with one of the professions above, you may be wondering what you can do. While it is unlikely that you can prevent vein problems entirely, you may slow their progression by wearing compression stockings. Compression stockings can be found at most pharmacies, or can be prescribed by a doctor. They may provide temporary relief to get you through your shift easier, but will not reverse any vein problems that have already developed.