Pregnancy Isn’t The Only Risk Factor For Varicose Veins

Causes include genetics.

One of the possible side effects of pregnancy is varicose veins.  While it is uncomfortable for the layperson to consider pregnancy as a medical condition akin to illness, that is how the medical profession classifies it, and as such, it has symptoms and side effects.  Because the volume of blood expands in a woman who is pregnant, there is a whole lot more of it than the body normally produces.  The veins may not be able to handle the volume, and in such cases, the veins become swollen. 

Women are about three times more likely to get varicose veins than men.  Beyond pregnancy, those who are most at risk are people who stand for extended periods of time like wait staff at a restaurant or nurses, people who are obese, and people who wear tight garters.  About half of all cases are genetic in nature.

Varicose veins may be prevented by taking appropriate breaks during long periods of standing.  One of the reasons why breaks work, if they take the person off of their feet, is because veins in the leg must work against gravity to take the blood from the tissues back to the heart.  When the valves that help regulate the blood flow become damage, blood may not be moved effectively and can cause veins to fill to levels that are unsupportable.  When the vein is damage, the result is varicose veins.

Another prevention method is to wear compression stockings.  Compression stockings create a condition in the leg that does not allow the blood to pool.  By keeping the blood moving, veins are kept free of the pooling blood that may otherwise result in varicose veins.

Further prevention methods include controlling body weight.  Because obesity is one of the contributing factors to varicose veins, it is very important to keep weight at a level that is considered healthy.  People who are overweight will gain benefits from weight loss beyond the prevention of varicose veins including a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke and greater energy and self-esteem.  While losing weight may be difficult, the health benefits more than justify the attempt.  Consulting a physician and a nutritionist can help people stay on track with a diet that they can live with.

Varicose veins are a long term problem.  People who have them once are at greater risk for repeated appearances.  Treatment for varicose veins may not get rid of them but can help reduce the symptoms.  Elevating the legs throughout the day is one way that the symptoms are alleviated.  Compression stockings can also help.  Surgeries like sclerotherapy can remove some varicose veins, but they do not prevent new ones from forming. Laser therapy is also available.  Both may leave scars.

Consult with your physician during checkups.
Because varicose veins can lead to more dramatic problems than the cosmetic issue that they present, it is important to know when to consult a doctor.  Getting an annual physical can help as long as the person talks to the doctor about the issues at hand.  Otherwise, if a skin ulcer forms or the leg experiences swelling or unexplained bruising, calling the doctor is in order because the person may be experiencing a blood clot that can cause the loss of limb or life.

Varicose veins are unsightly and are related to life threatening conditions.  Fortunately, they can be prevented in about half of the population, and they can be treated in the other half.  By consulting with a doctor about the condition, people will know what they need to do to treat the condition as well as what medications and actions are contraindicated for good health.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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