Although not usually cause for medical concern, varicose veins can be unsightly and even painful or uncomfortable. These veins, which appear to budge and twist beneath the skin, are a common skin concern, affecting nearly half of the U.S. population. While some risk factors are difficult or impossible to avoid, such as genetics, age and medical history, others may be preventable by simply making a few healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can put an added strain on your veins, which may cause varicose or spider veins to become visible through your skin. Staying active, eating right and getting enough sleep is not only excellent for your overall health, but it can also help to prevent the unwanted appearance of these veins.
2. Get Moving
Getting plenty of exercise is great for reducing your risk for varicose veins, as well as number of other health problems, but even if you don’t have large chunks of time to dedicate to exercise, it’s still important to stay moving throughout the day.
If you have a desk job, getting up every 20 to 30 minutes to stand and stretch can help prevent varicose veins.
One study even suggests that fidgeting in your seat can have the same effect, helping to stimulate healthy blood flow through your legs and thus minimizing your risk of getting varicose veins.
3. Ditch the Heels
Although wearing high-heeled shoes can be elegant and just plain fun, this type of shoe isn’t so fun for your veins. When you wear heels, your calf muscles remain contracted rather than contracting and relaxing as they normally would when you walk in flats. This can cause venous blood to pool in your legs, which may lead to varicose and spider veins. To avoid varicose veins, you might just want to save your favorite pair of heels for special occasions.
4. Kick Your Feet Up
After a long day, don’t feel guilty about sitting back with your feet up… literally. Elevating your feet above your heart can help to alleviate any pooled blood that may have built up in your legs throughout the day.
5. Try a Support Garment
If you know you have a family history of varicose veins, or if you want to wear a pair of heels, wear support stockings to help prevent blood from pooling, which can cause varicose and spider veins. There are a variety of styles and colors to choose from that very much resemble regular tights or pantyhose, so you can still look stylish while you support your legs.
6. Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure
Fair-skinned people may be at a greater risk of developing varicose veins due to sun exposure. Make sure to apply sunscreen before heading outside, and avoid deliberate tanning, both to prevent visible veins and for the sake of your skin’s health.
7. Stop Smoking
As if you needed yet another reason to kick the habit (or not to start), smoking may contribute to varicose veins. Tobacco use has been linked to lower limb venous insufficiency, a condition that hinders blood flow to your lower extremities, thus allowing blood to pool in your legs.
How to Treat Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are an aesthetic concern for many people. But the good news is that there are a variety of treatment methods that can help to improve their appearance, including laser vein removal. For more information about how laser technology may be able to reduce or eliminate the appearance of varicose veins, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced professional to address your questions and concerns.