Can You Prevent Varicose Veins?
In Northern Michigan winter can be a tough slog. But think of the bright side — at least you can cover up those pesky varicose veins on your calves!
Varicose veins aren’t beloved by anyone. The raised veins making curly paths across your legs are unsightly, but at least they usually stop at that. Varicose veins aren’t typically a sign of a more significant health issue, but they can make a person avoid an invitation to a water-skiing trip out on Grand Traverse Bay or even to a neighborhood pool party.
Dr. Heeringa often has patients whose varicose veins he is treating ask if there was any way they could have prevented the formation of said veins. Since we’re in a brand-new year, let’s spend this first blog of 2022 giving you some strategies for helping prevent or minimize the development of varicose veins on your legs.
- Get moving — Standing or sitting for long periods of time increases the amount of blood that pools in your already compromised veins. Exercising not only promotes healthy circulation in the veins, but it also prevents peripheral arterial disease (or poor circulation in the arteries).
- Drop some pounds — As you would assume, extra weight simply places extra downward pressure on your legs and the veins inside them. Losing weight can help prevent varicose veins by reducing that added pressure.
- Wear compression stockings — You’ve seen us discuss hosiery in other blogs. Compression hosiery squeezes your veins and stops excess blood from flowing backward. If you already have a varicose vein, it won’t get rid of it, but compression hose will help any pain and swelling. If you don’t have a developed varicose vein, wearing these can help prevent one.
- Don’t smoke — The toxic chemicals in cigarettes can seriously damage the venous system to say nothing of its effects on your arteries. Studies have repeatedly shown that cigarette smoking thickens the blood and reduces oxygen, slowing blood flow.
- When they hurt, see us — Varicose veins are mainly a cosmetic concern, but they can become a physical one. Dr. Heeringa feels it’s a good idea to remove varicose veins if they make your legs feel heavy, achy, swollen, or itchy. That’s when the he can use treatments such as radiofrequency ablation or an ambulatory phlebectomy to remove the veins.