Varicose veins are superficial veins (veins underneath the skin in our legs) that have become enlarged and swollen because the valves in them are damaged. The valves in healthy leg veins make sure the blood from our legs makes it back to the heart, so that it can be oxygenated and recirculated. These valves allow the blood in our veins to only flow in one direction, moving blood up towards the heart, against gravity! If we didn’t have these valves blood in our legs would never make it back to our hearts for recirculation.
Unfortunately, about 50 to 55% of American women and 40 to 45% of American men suffer from some form of vein problem; with varicose veins affecting 1 out of 2 people age 50 and older. The disease starts slowly but worsens over time.
As stated in a US News Health Article, there are several helpful tips which can help prevent varicose veins:
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests these varicose vein prevention tips:
- Do not stand or sit for long periods without interruption.
- Don’t cross your legs while seated.
- Elevate your legs when sitting or lying down, keeping them raised above your heart.
- Get plenty of regular physical activity, strengthening the muscles in your legs.
- Lose any extra weight to help improve blood flow.
- Do not wear tight clothes, especially those that are constricting around the waist, groin or thighs.
- If your doctor says it’s a good idea, wear compression hose to help keep blood from pooling.