The veins provide the body with the important function of transporting blood to various cells and organs. Their role is pivotal to good health but not one we tend to think much about. In fact, we typically don’t pay much attention to how the venous system works until it doesn’t. One of the problems that can occur when the venous system is disrupted is venous insufficiency. You may know venous insufficiency as varicose veins and spider veins. While not a medical emergency, both of these conditions can cause cosmetic and physical symptoms that get pretty frustrating. Knowing your risk for these vein problems may help you avoid unnecessary discomfort.
Varicose veins and spider veins do have two uncontrollable risk factors: age and genetics. Some people are more prone to these problems than others due to a family history of vein conditions. Furthermore, studies indicate that people, especially women, over the age of 50 are more likely to develop venous insufficiency. Having these two risks doesn’t have to be a sentence for ropy, painful veins, though. A few simple strategies can lower other risks.
- Manage weight. A lot happens in the body when our weight increases beyond a healthy range. The heart works harder. The lungs work harder. And the veins take a beating. Weight places excessive stress onto the legs, in particular, making it more difficult for blood to move upward against both extra fatty tissue and gravity.
- Move frequently. There are two benefits to walking every day. One is that walking can help you maintain a healthy weight. Another is that walking improves the tone of the calf muscles. The calf muscles engage in a pumping action. With each pump of these muscles, blood is moved upward through the leg. This is why people are encouraged to stand up and walk for 5 to 10 minutes about every hour throughout their day.
- Avoid smoking. Multiple studies have proven that cigarette-smoking is an unhealthy habit. The nicotine in cigarettes causes the arteries to become narrow and stiff, thus making it harder for blood to move efficiently through the venous system. If you have other risk factors for venous insufficiency, smoking is a habit to avoid.
Varicose veins and spider veins don’t have to keep you from feeling comfortable and confident. Treatment is available in our Laurel office. To learn more, schedule a consultation at (855) 803-MIVC (6482).