Varicose Veins | Prevention

Varicose veins develop for a variety of reasons. Risk factors include family history, age, being a woman, pregnancy, obesity, prolonged sitting or standing, and more. Some of these risk factors — such as family history or age — are harder to avoid than others. But is there a way to prevent varicose veins from forming?

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that people can prevent varicose veins from occurring, but you can make various lifestyle changes that may help lessen symptoms and possibly prevent varicose veins from worsening. You can also live a healthy lifestyle to delay problems with veins as long as possible.

Common prevention tips include:

Live a healthy lifestyle.

  • If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Weight control prevents excess pressure build-up on veins of the legs and feet.

  • Eat a healthy diet based on complex carbohydrates, a sufficient amount of protein, and healthy fats. Avoid foods high in salt, and include foods high in fiber and potassium. Drink enough water throughout the day — proper hydration allows for healthy blood circulation.

  • If you smoke, quit. Studies show that smoking may contribute to the development of varicose veins.

Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time to encourage blood flow. 

  • Stretch and exercise your legs as often as possible to increase circulation and reduce pressure buildup. If you’re stuck at a desk, do small exercises, such as:

    • peddling your feet

    • stretching your ankles

    • bending your knees in a “marching-like” manner

  • Try to elevate your legs at least three times a day, for 15 minutes at a time. Elevating your feet above the heart breaks the gravity circle. This results in better blood circulation and less ankle swelling.

  • If your daily routine requires you to be on your feet constantly, consider wearing compression socks and stockings. They can improve your symptoms and slow progression of vein disease.

Exercise regularly. 

  • Staying fit is the best way to keep your leg muscles toned, your blood flowing, and your weight under control.

  • The most beneficial exercise to prevent varicose veins is walking.

  • Yoga can also help stretch and tone the deepest muscles in your calves and hamstrings. These deep muscles help your veins function properly.

  • Other beneficial types of exercise include cycling, swimming, and elliptical.

Make changes to your wardrobe.

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing which can constrict blood flow in the waste, groin, or legs.

  • Avoid wearing high heel shoes for prolonged periods of time. Flat or low heel shoes are better for circulation as they improve calf muscle tone.

Sleep positions for pregnant women.

  • If you're pregnant, be sure to sleep on the left side rather than on your back to minimize pressure from the uterus on the veins in your pelvic area.

  • This position will also improve blood flow to the fetus. If you are prone to developing varicose veins, ask your doctor for a prescription for compression stockings.

Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

Jennifer Guidry