Varicose veins occur in millions of adults each year, with recent estimates suggesting one-third of the population around the world experiences them. When varicose veins take place, they present as bulging, twisted veins that are visible beneath the skin’s surface. For many, varicose veins appear as a dark blue or purple thread throughout the lower or upper leg. Although many think varicose veins are cosmetic issues, they can lead to other challenges over time.
When varicose veins are left untreated, individuals may start to feel uncomfortable symptoms. Pain, swelling, itchiness, and overall heaviness of the legs can and frequently does occur. These issues can make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks or continue a routine of physical activity at the same level as before the vein issues were present. For these reasons, many people want to know what they can do to prevent varicose veins from happening in the first place. The reality is there is no surefire way to stop varicose veins from occurring, due to the wide range of causes detailed below. However, specific steps can reduce the potential for varicose veins in certain people.
Understanding the Causes
According to specialists at a varicose veins clinic in the UK, when veins are working correctly, the blood flows throughout the body and back to the heart without any interruption or slow down. However, over time, vein walls can weaken, leading to blood flowing in the wrong direction as it is intended. When this happens, veins are larger than average, and this leads to varicose veins.
The causes that create vein issues and weaknesses are not entirely known, but there are a handful of risk factors that lead to varicose veins over time. These include:
Although not everyone who faces these challenges will develop varicose veins, the risk factors can make it far more likely that vein weakening will take place over the course of one’s lifetime. Fortunately, simple activities can help with the prevention of vein issues, even when risks are high.
Tips for Prevention
Preventing varicose veins often starts with lifestyle choices and changes. The most notable of these shifts involve the following tips:
Focus on diet – improving blood flow to help prevent varicose veins can be done by the foods we eat. Swapping out white flour bread for whole wheat can make a difference, as can reducing sugar intake over time. Some experts also suggest including foods with flavonoids from rutin, such as apples, grapes, buckwheat, and apricots, can help with inflammation that can lead to varicose veins.
Physical activity – getting the blood pumping with at least 30 minutes of physical activity is incredibly beneficial to keeping varicose veins at bay. This may involve walking each morning or evening, or taking a low-impact aerobics class. No matter the source of physical activity, experts agree that this helps promote healthy circulation throughout the veins as well as keeps weight down to a healthy level.
Compression stockings – for those who are at higher risk of developing varicose veins or individuals with poor circulation, wearing compression stockings may be helpful in the fight against vein weakening. Compression allows for a greater flowof blood throughout the body, helping reduce the potential for vein issues down the road.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
Although there is no singular method for preventing varicose veins among adults, the tips provided can be the first line of defense against developing painful, frustrating vein issues. However, if varicose veins do form, there is hope for managing the discomfort and treating broken veins effectively. The treatments available for varicose veins range widely, from at-home remedies like compression therapy and leg elevation to non-invasive surgeries like endovenous laser treatment, or EVLT. A vein specialist can provide the best-fit treatment for individuals with varicose veins after an examination of the veins in question.
Once the veins have been evaluated for severity and potential treatment plans, treating varicose veins is a straightforward process. If surgery is required, most individuals are home the same day as the procedure, and without much downtime for recovery. Before getting to this point, though, taking the simple steps above to heart can help keep varicose veins away.