Varicose veins are rarely dangerous, but they can lower a person’s self-esteem, as they impact the appearance of the legs.
Once varicose veins appear, they won’t go away without treatment. However, even after you remove varicose veins, new ones can appear if you don’t have a prevention plan in place.
Below, we asked our experts at One Vein Clinic, in St. Augustine, Florida, who specialize in the treatment of varicose veins, about how you can prevent varicose veins from appearing in the first place.
One of the reasons why varicose veins occur is poor circulation. Exercise, including low-impact activities like walking, improves blood flow.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Vitamin K2 — found in animal fats, aged cheese, organic eggs, and natto — can prevent the calcification of elastin in the veins. This calcification is what makes veins stiff and more likely to turn into varicose veins.
Your vein walls are made of collagen, a protein. When your body stops producing enough collagen, your blood vessels weaken and become less elastic, which allows blood to pool and stretch the vein walls.
Good sources of amino acids that can be easily converted into collagen by your body include bone broth, tripe, and meats with skin.
When you elevate your legs above heart level, you improve the blood flow to your heart and prevent it from pooling in your lower legs.
In women, birth control pills can slightly reduce blood flow in the lower legs and may increase your risk for varicose veins. Talk to your provider about other options for preventing pregnancy.
The nicotine found in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict and narrow, reducing blood flow to them. Over time, the veins weaken and the blood starts to pool, causing your veins to become varicose.
The more weight you carry, the harder the veins have to work to pump out blood back to your heart. Although losing weight can make hidden varicose veins more noticeable, it can also prevent others from worsening.
Both sitting down and standing for long periods can cause blood to pool in your veins. If you work a desk job, see if you can switch to a standing desk so you can alternate between sitting in a chair and working while standing. Likewise, if you stand for long periods, take short breaks to sit down throughout the day.
Well-fitted compression stockings put light pressure on the external vein walls, increasing blood flow and preventing damage to the veins.
If you suffer from varicose veins or want to discuss additional ways you can prevent them in the future, contact us to schedule an appointment or book online.