More than 12 million people in the United States have varicose veins. A variety of different reasons causes people to develop these abnormal veins. Have you ever noticed someone's varicose or spider veins and wondered if you'll ever have them? Here are some common reasons why people develop spider veins and some tricks to avoid them altogether.
What are varicose & spider veins?
Varicose and spider veins are both typically the same thing. Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that are raised. They tend to look as though they're popping out through your skin. Many of them will look blue in color. Spider veins are the same, just smaller and closer to the surface of your skin. While varicose veins can happen just about anywhere on your body, they're more likely to appear on your legs.
There are many causes of varicose and spider veins. They include
- Hormone changes (e.g., pregnancy)
- Birth control pills
- Blood clots
- Constant standing
- Personal style (e.g., high heels, corsets)
Hormonal changes can change many aspects of your body. Some people's hair will change texture and color. Some people will have several other changes throughout their bodies. Varicose veins and spider veins are no exception. During hormonal changes, a hormone called progesterone tends to decrease. When progesterone decreases, the veins weaken and swell.
Humans aren't sedentary creatures so standing often is normal. However, if you have an occupation that has you on your feet all day, you're more susceptible to varicose veins. The pressure in your legs from constant use causes increased blood flow, which in turn can cause the swelling in your veins. The pressure is greater in people who are overweight, which makes people who are obese more susceptible to varicose veins.
Constant sitting isn't any better for your legs than constant standing. When you do sit, don't cross your legs. Crossing your legs constricts the blood in your calves, which can lead to varicose and spider veins.
While many of these causes aren't all that preventable, one cause is: your personal style. High heels are a contributor to varicose and spider veins. Scientists conducted a study on women on treadmills. Some were wearing high heels while others were wearing regular sneakers. The women in high heels had increased blood pressure to their legs because their calf muscles had to contract more often.
While wearing corsets and girdles, your veins in your abdomen are constricted. The constriction makes the blood have to work harder to get through your blood vessels, raising your blood pressure as a result. The increased blood pressure in the lower part of your body raises your risk for varicose veins.
Lowering your risk
There is no sure fire way to ensure that you won't get varicose veins, however, there are many things that you can do to lower your chances. One important thing to do is keep your weight down. It's important in every aspect of your health. It will allow you to keep excess pressure off your legs and lower your blood pressure as well. Both are large factors in the development of varicose veins.
If your occupation keeps you on your feet, sit down on your breaks. The same thing goes if you have a job at a desk. Stand up and walk around when you get a break.
If you're worried that you need extra help, try some compression socks. Compression socks will put slight pressure on your veins to keep them from bulging. If you have trouble with your blood pressure or swelling in your legs, they may be a lot of help.
Varicose veins are an issue for many people, and they may eventually become an issue for you. Evaluate your risk factors and take these precautions if you're worried about varicose or spider veins in your future. Remember to consult a professional like Niren Angle, MD.