If you know someone with varicose veins, they might tell you how painful and uncomfortable the condition can be, as well as how they can affect self-confidence.
And they’re not alone. Research has shown that varicose veins affect about 30% of the population at some time in their life. There’s no way to completely prevent them, but – according to Mr Eddie Chaloner, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Benenden Hospital - there are some things you can do to lower your chances of developing the condition.
1. Keep an eye on your weight
There’s some evidence that obesity puts pressure on your veins. As blood starts to pool, valves are unable to cope, and your larger leg veins can bulge. While losing weight can’t reverse the condition, it can stop new veins appearing.
2. Don’t smoke
We all know that smoking isn’t good for your health, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that it’s probably associated with an increased risk of varicose veins. Talk to your GP if you need help to stop smoking.
3. Find a balance between sitting and standing
It’s often said that people in occupations such as teachers, nurses, hairdressers and policemen suffer more from varicose veins than people in sedentary jobs. But sitting down all day can also bring a whole host of health risks. So, if you have a desk job, make sure you take small breaks to stretch your legs. Likewise, if you’re standing all day, find some time to put your feet up.
4. Wear compression stockings
While compression stockings won’t stop a vein becoming varicose, they do squeeze the leg veins, which prevents bulging and reduces that aching feeling.
5. Avoid steroid medications
Steroid hormones such as the contraceptive pill, HRT or topical creams may increase the risk of developing varicose veins by making the veins swell. If you have any concerns about the effect your medication might have on your veins, speak to your GP.
If you’re concerned about varicose veins, ask your doctor for a referral to Benenden Hospital for diagnosis and treatment or contact us online or by phone on 01580 242521.
Published on 08 November 2019