Varicose Veins: What They Are and How to Prevent Them
Posted on: September 10, 2018
While you may have heard the term “varicose veins” before, you may not be aware that it refers to a common medical condition that affects approximately 40% of the United States population.
Risk factors for varicose veins include heredity, prior leg trauma, and prolonged sitting or standing, especially in the work place. Women who have experienced at least one pregnancy are also at greater risk.
What are Varicose Veins?
The condition is caused by a disease process called Chronic Venous Insufficiency, which causes blood to pool in the legs instead of returning to the heart. As blood pools, it causes the veins in the leg to stretch out, leading to visible bulges in the skin.
- Ankle swelling
- Greater susceptibility to bruising
- Skin darkening or hardening
- Fatigue or heaviness in the legs
- Aching or throbbing
Steps to Take to Slow Varicose Veins Formation
While the condition is treatable, there are steps that you can take now to slow varicose vein formation.
Wear Comfortable, Loose-fitting Clothing
Wearing a tight compression stocking is the first approach to combating varicose veins and their
symptoms. The steady tightness of compression garments squeezes the leg which helps the
veins and muscles return blood more efficiently and allows for some relief of symptoms. The
amount of compression varies from types that can be found in a drug store up to prescription
In order to help prevent varicose veins from forming or worsening, prolonged sitting or standing
should be avoided. Changing positions such as incorporating leg elevation, walking, or resting
throughout the day is important. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight is
central in promoting good venous and overall health.
Symptoms Can Go Unnoticed
While bulging of veins in the legs is a classic symptom, it is not always present with venous insufficiency, and the other symptoms may be more subtle. If you suspect you may be developing varicose veins, contact The Vein Institute for a free vein screening.