The term varicose refers to an abnormal dilation of the veins. There are two venous networks, a deep one (drains 90% of the venous return) and a superficial one (drains 10% of the venous return) which are most often affected. These two systems are connected by perforators. The veins also have valve systems (anti-reflux) allowing blood to always flow in the same direction.
What Are The Causes Of Varicose Veins?
Various factors are involved in the formation of varicose veins, these may include:
- The loss of elasticity of the venous walls and the enlargement of the veins due to aging.
- Damage to the venous valves: The venous valves are small valves located in the veins of the legs that prevent the blood from flowing back down. If they are damaged, blood flows back into the legs, accumulates there, and causes the appearance of varicose veins.
- Others may include a genetic predisposition, being overweight, or long periods of standing or sitting.
- Pregnancy: Indeed, in pregnant women, varicose veins sometimes appear during the first trimester. They are probably linked to hormonal changes and, later in pregnancy, to the weight of the uterus which compresses the abdominal veins. The likelihood of developing varicose veins increases during successive pregnancies.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins
Physical activity such as walking is the best way to prevent varicose veins from getting worse. It tones the muscles which put pressure on the veins and thus promotes venous return.
In the case of chronic venous insufficiency (heavy legs), regular wearing of elastic support can help prevent complications of the disease.
Below are other effective certain preventive measures that can be put in place to prevent the appearance of varicose veins. However, when heredity predisposes a person to varicose veins, it is not easy to escape them.
However, by maintaining good muscle tone and good physical fitness, we can reduce the risk of varicose veins appearing or delay their appearance.
Basic Preventive Measures
- Move: Exercises that use the legs, such as walking, swimming, and cycling, are particularly suitable for preventing varicose veins. Compression of the muscles adjacent to the veins facilitates venous return.
- Maintain a healthy weight: excess weight puts excessive pressure on the veins of the legs, which interferes with the return of venous blood to the heart.
- Monitor your diet: Consuming little salt helps prevent swelling caused by water retention. By eating foods rich in fiber, you can prevent constipation. You should know that straining to have a bowel movement can increase pressure in the venous system.
Varicose Veins Prevention Tips
- Elevate your legs: It is recommended that you should do this 3 or 4 times a day, 15 to 30 minutes each time. The legs should be positioned in such a way that it will be higher than the heart. You can, for example, lie down with a pillow under your legs.
- Vary your posture: Standing or sitting for a very long time should be avoided When working standing, it is good to remember to stretch, move, and sit occasionally to stimulate circulation in the legs. When working seated, you should avoid crossing your legs and leaning your torso forward for long periods of time. Move your feet and ankles when you have to sit or stand for long periods of time, it is good to remember to point your toes down and up to promote venous return, repeat this several times a day.
- Moving during a trip: During a long plane trip, it is recommended to get up and stretch regularly for a few minutes. You can also for example, slowly raise your heels to contract the calf muscles.
- Apply cold water to legs: This helps relieve and reduce their swelling.
- Avoid heat sources: The heat dilates the veins. But avoid very hot showers and baths, sunbathing, tanning salons, as well as hot waxing.
- Avoid clothes that are too tight: These can impair venous circulation. Also beware of girdles, narrow jeans, elastic socks that tighten the ankles or knees, as well as shoes that are too narrow.
- Wear flat-heeled shoes: High heels contribute to the sagging of the arch of the foot and therefore circulation. Shoes with low heels work the calf muscles more, which helps the veins do their job.
- Wear compression stockings: They can be used to prevent varicose veins by people who work standing and on planes.
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The Bottom Line
Varicose veins can sometimes disfigure the appearance of affected skin areas, most especially around the lower limbs. To avoid this, carefully follow the above-mentioned conditions in order to prevent the occurrence or treat already manifested varicose veins.