March 10


4 Risk Factors for Varicose Veins and How to Lower Your Risk

By Dr. Edward Mackay

March 10, 2017

4 Risk Factors for Varicose Veins and How to Lower Your Risk

If you've seen your mother or grandmother develop varicose veins, you may worry that it will happen to you too. Or perhaps you've seen the beginning signs of varicose veins developing and you want to prevent them from getting worse.

When it comes to varicose veins, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that there are several risk factors that can increase your risk of getting varicose veins. However, the good news is that there are things you can do to lower these risk factors and make varicose veins less likely.

1. Genetics

Like many other medical conditions, varicose veins can be passed down from parent to child. Unfortunately, you can't do anything to change your family history of genetic disease. However, if you know varicose veins run in your family, you may have an increased desire to do all you can to prevent varicose veins.

Keep in mind that women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men are because women experience different hormonal changes at various points in their lives that can increase varicose vein risk.

One simple way to prevent varicose veins - even if they run in your family - is to choose the right clothing. Tight pants restrict blood flow, so avoid them. Also, avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible. You don't use your calf muscles as much when you walk with high-heeled shoes, and this lack of use can be hard on your veins.

2. Certain Jobs

If your job requires you to sit or stand in the same position all day, this lack of motion can prevent your blood from flowing and encourage varicose veins to develop.

You may not have the option to change how you work, but try to adjust your position throughout the day if possible. For example, if you sit for work, you could try a standing desk for part of the day. Alternatively, you could take a walking break every couple of hours. If you stand in the same position for work, regular sitting or walking breaks can help.

Crossing or bending your legs also increases your risk for varicose veins, so avoid sitting in this position.

3. Pregnancy

Perhaps the most likely time to develop varicose veins is while you're pregnant. The weight of your growing baby puts pressure on your legs. Hormone changes and increased blood volume during pregnancy may also make varicose veins more likely.

You may not be able to completely prevent varicose veins during pregnancy. However, you can reduce your risk by wearing loose clothing and avoiding sitting or standing in the same position for long time periods of time.

4. Weight

As with pregnancy, carrying extra weight puts increased pressure on your veins. Losing weight is easier said than done, but there are a few simple steps you can take to start losing weight:
  • Drink water instead of soda, juice or alcohol.
  • Eat more vegetables and decrease the amount of processed carbs you eat (such as white bread, pasta and pizza).
  • Go on a daily walk.
  • Pay attention to how much food you eat; see if you can eliminate second helpings, midnight snacks or desserts.

You should also meet with a doctor or nutritionist about losing weight. You may have an underlying condition that makes it difficult for you to lose weight.When risk factors start to stack against you, you might feel like you don't have any control over your varicose veins. Follow these tips to gain some sense of control and make varicose veins less likely.

If your varicose veins are serious and are impacting your daily life, consider a varicose vein treatment. Contact Dr. Mackay, Vein & Circulation Specialist for information about how we can help you

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