December 4


Does standing for long hours at work make vein disease worse?

By Dr. Edward Mackay

December 4, 2020

Most jobs and careers require either long durations of sitting or standing. Both are known to cause worsening vein disease, but most would be surprised to learn that standing is actually worse for vein disease. 

Pressure increases in the veins with excess pooling of blood, as the veins have to work in order to pump blood against gravity with standing. With standing, the muscles stay static and are not contracting, which is a way to help pump blood toward the heart. Standing alone will not necessarily cause vein disease, but if other risk factors are present or you already have vein disease, it can worsen with long durations of standing. The best way to prevent and manage vein disease is by moving around or exercising through the day.

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Modifications to Lifestyle

If you are unable to avoid standing all day to complete your job tasks, you can try making modifications to your day for vein health.  

  • Work area:  Add a chair or stool to your area to be able to sit through some portions of the day, even if it is for 5 minutes to give your legs a break and change positions. 
  • Work day: Schedule extra breaks during the work day that you can walk for 5-10 minutes every hour or consider performing stretches or foot pumps at your desk to help contract the muscles to improve blood flow. 
  • Exercise:  Start exercising before work, after work, or on the weekends with even a walking regimen for 30 minutes, 5 times weekly. 
  • Compression:  Wear compression stockings while at work to help with preventing swelling and helping the blood to continually flow, particularly if you are unable to sit while working. 
  • Elevation:  Elevate your legs at the end of a long work day to help with reducing swelling and moving blood back toward the heart.

Venous disease is more common and less severe than arterial disease. There are procedures to treat both types of disease. 

"The ability to change jobs or careers may not be an option to prevent standing all day, but at least there are different ways to try and fight vein disease, even when standing. " - Dr. Edward Mackay

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