More than 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a cosmetic, female or elderly problem – the bulging, twisted veins can affect anyone at any age and can lead to serious medical issues such as blood clots.
Varicose veins are a medical condition in which the veins cannot sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. There are many factors that increase your risk for developing varicose veins, and your job can be one of them. If you’re required you to sit or stand for extended periods of time, it’s possible your job is contributing to the development of varicose vein problems which can be painful and cause the following symptoms:
- Burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs
- Tired, achy or heavy feeling legs
- Itchy feelings around leg veins
- Skin surface ulcers on the lower legs (only in very severe cases)
The connection between your job and your veins
Our veins are equipped with tiny internal valves that enable the blood to flow forward in one direction, upward back to the heart. When these valves become damaged or weakened, the blood cannot sufficiently flow upward, flows backward (reflux) and results in pooling of blood and increased pressure on the other valves. Long periods of sitting or standing add to gravity’s pull on the blood, further contributing to inhibited blood flow.
So, if you find that you’re consistently sitting at your desk or standing on your feet while working, your job may be having adverse effects on your veins.
Tips for healthier veins on the job
- If you’re sitting most of the day, prop your feet up on a foot rest or stool
- If you’re standing most of the day, try calf raises or work in a couple of squats when you have the chance
- Shift your standing position as often as possible
- Walk around at least once every 30 minutes
- To improve circulation, wear compression stockings while working
- Wear appropriate footwear with cushioned socks or insoles
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to prevent circulation restriction
- Ice swollen veins or legs, or try a hot compress if ice isn’t helpful
Don’t just leave the healthy habits at work
Maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise and consuming a well-balanced, low-salt diet can also help reduce your risk of developing vein disease. Regular exercise will promote healthy circulation, a low-salt diet will reduce high blood pressure, and a healthy body weight will reduce the strain on your veins.
Elevating your legs while at rest is one of the best ways to prevent blood from pooling in your calves and ankles. When resting, especially in the evening hours, prop your feet up on a couple of pillows or relax in a recliner chair. This will ease pressure and aid in healthy circulation.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you’re probably familiar with the embarrassing and painful signs and symptoms that come with the condition. You may have asked yourself why you’ve developed varicose veins, or if there was something you could have done to prevent it. There are many reasons why you may be suffering from vein disease, and you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are things you can do on your own to help reduce your risk or lessen symptoms.
Dr. Gilvydis and his team of experts at Gilvydis Vein Clinic can help identify the presence of vein disease and tailor treatment specifically to your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.