Varicose veins are those blue or purple veins that bulge and twist beneath the skin. Because they can be quite large and unsightly, people who have them often consider getting varicose vein treatment. But how exactly does one get them in the first place?
There are two kinds of blood vessels in our body, the veins and the arteries. Arteries are those that carry oxygenated and nutrient-loaded blood which is pumped by your heart to the different organs. Veins are those that bring back unoxygenated blood from the organs towards the heart.
Unlike the arteries, which benefit from the pumping of the heart, veins rely on the muscles of the legs to squeeze them so that the blood will be carried back to the heart. However, when a person is standing up, gravity pulls the blood back down to the feet. To prevent the blood from going back down, veins are equipped with valves. If they are working properly, blood goes right back to the heart. If not, the blood flows back, eventually enlarging the vessels and often causing varicose veins.
With new technology, however, doctors have learned that simply having bulging veins does not necessarily mean that the person has a problem with valve failure. Some people have them just because they do not have enough fat to “cover” these up. Meanwhile, others don’t have these symptoms but have problems in their deeper veins.
Avoiding varicose veins
It is important to avoid varicose veins because they are not only ugly, they cause health problems too. They can cause discomfort and pain as well as more serious problems such as blood clots. While it is difficult to completely prevent them because there are many factors involved, you can lessen your chances of getting varicose veins by doing the following:
- Walk often. The action of the muscles while walking provides the “squeezing” that helps veins carry blood back to the heart. So help out your veins by incorporating walking into your daily activities.
- Eat healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent unnecessary pressure on the veins. If you are heavier than you should be, this is another reason to motivate you to shed those extra pounds.
- Avoid high heels. Low-heeled footwear have the benefit of working out your leg muscles more.
- Don’t wear tight clothing. Wearing constricting attire, especially around the legs, groin, and waist, can hinder circulation.
- Put your legs and feet up. Make time to elevate your legs several times daily, higher than the level of your heart.
- Get moving. Help out your veins by ensuring that you move every so often. Avoid plain sitting or standing for lengths of time.
- Keep legs uncrossed. This ensures you are not restricting blood flow by compressing young legs.
Varicose veins can run in families. If you have a parent or grandparent who had varicose veins, take care and make sure to apply these pointers because you are at risk of getting them too.