Varicose Veins: Why They Happen & 10 Tips on How to Prevent Them
Varicose veins, spider veins – whatever you call them, they are not a welcome addition to any body or face. Dr. Luis Navarro, Founder and Director of The Vein Treatment Center, explains that varicose veins, “are broken capillaries that are dilated less than 2mm. The visible veins exist just below the surface of the skin and generally appear on the face or legs. They are blue, red or purple in color with a web-like appearance.” According to Dr. Navarro spider veins are primarily genetic “since weak vein walls are hereditary.” However even if its not an issue that runs in your family there are certain lifestyle choices that can contribute to varicose veins showing up on your body including: smoking, obesity, standing/sitting for extended periods of time, birth control pills, aging, and pregnancy.
So what are some ways we can prevent spider veins from happening to us or at the very least hold them off for as long as possible? Dr. Navarro offers some great tips below:
Monitor Hormone Intake: Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can constrict blood vessels and weaken vein valves and vein walls. Address your concerns with your doctor before getting on any sort of medication.
Take Vitamin E and/or Vitamin C: Vitamin C and E keep blood vessels strong, which prevents them to stretch and swell, which is the cause of varicose and spider veins. Vitamin E also prevents blood clots.
Stop Smoking: Just another reason to put down the cigarette – smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, and can cause high blood pressure. Both cause poor circulation and can result in varicose/spider veins
Avoid Tight Fitting Pants: Don’t wear clothing that is too tight, it will constrict blood flow through the legs, which causes veins to swell.
Maintain a Healthy BMI: If you are at an unhealthy weight, the extra weight may strain your legs and cause veins to form.
Get Regular Exercise: Any type of exercise that strengthens the “second heart” – the muscles of the calf and foot – is beneficial. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
Wear Graduated Compression Stockings: Compression stockings act like an added layer of muscle, aiding the performance of the “second heart” and venous circulation.
Avoid Prolonged Periods of Sitting and Standing: Rotate your ankles and feet whenever possible, take brief walks every hour and point and flex your toes to promote leg vein circulation.
Elevate Your Feet: Raise your feet 6 to 12 inches above your heart whenever possible to assist circulation. It’s easiest to do then when sleeping.
Eat a High Fiber Diet: Take steps to avoid constipation, as it puts pressure on the venous system.