Varicose veins are caused by defective vein valves. When faulty valves don’t close sufficiently, they allow blood to flow backwards, causing veins to bulge and twist. This is commonly known as venous insufficiency, the cause of varicose veins. While any veins can be affected, most often, problems will occur in your legs.
Preventing Varicose Veins
More than half of those who live with varicose veins have a family history. But don’t worry, heredity alone does not seal your fate. Even if genetics are not on your side, there are measures you can take to prevent varicose veins, or at least stall the onset and lessen the severity. You may want to try some of the following suggestions:
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause your body to retain excess fluids
- Exercise. Improving your circulation reduces the amount of blood pooling in your veins
- Eat enough fiber. Many doctors attribute fiber intake to reduced risk of vein disease
- Avoid prolonged standing and sitting. Change positions frequently to improve blood flow
- Watch your diet and your weight. Excess weigh creates unnecessary pressure on your circulatory system, including your veins. Nutrition is essential to vein health
- Reduce your sodium intake. Excess sodium can cause fluid retention and vein swelling
- Avoid crossing your legs. This one is a bit controversial. Some doctors think leg-crossing promotes varicose veins, while others believe there is not enough pressure created to cause concern
- Wear compression stockings – Particularly if your career demands many hours of standing
Even though these suggestions can reduce your risk of varicose veins, if you already have varicose veins, it is unlikely that you caused them. Even if your varicose veins became apparent during pregnancy, your pregnancy was not the cause; pregnancy simply set the stage to make your vein problem visible.
Available Treatments for Varicose Veins
Most likely, you will be able to manage your varicose veins with a bit of self-care. If you have varicose vein bruising and pain, it may be time to consult with a vein specialist. Your physician can recommend the best treatment options to eliminate the cause of your distress. In most cases, treatment is permanent. Most procedures damage the offending vein, resulting in vein absorption. Some of your treatment options include:
- Sclerotherapy – An injection of an irritant, typically saline, to damage the vein
- Thermal ablation – The minimally invasive use of laser or radiofrequency generated heat
- Medical adhesive – To seal the vein and facilitate absorption
- Vein stripping – Surgically removing varicose veins
Your best treatment option may be determined by several factors, including the size of the offending veins. These treatments, with the exception of vein stripping, are also used to treat the appearance of spider veins. When selecting sclerotherapy for larger veins, your specialist may recommend varicose vein foam treatment, rather than saline.
Most often varicose veins exist without symptoms or complications, but they can get worse over time. You might be able to minimize your risk of varicose veins, or at least limit the severity, with a few simple lifestyle modifications, including exercise and weight management. If your varicose veins cause discomfort or pain, you may want to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.
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