Prevention of Varicose Veins
With varicose veins, prevention begins with understanding the risk factors that increase the chances of developing them. While some risk factors (such as genetics) cannot be controlled, others can be controlled, including obesity and standing for long periods of time. Getting regular exercise, losing weight, and following a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods can also help.
Prevention of Varicose Veins: An OverviewVaricose veins are enlarged veins most commonly found on the inside of the leg or on the backs of the calves. There are many factors that increase a person's chances for developing varicose veins. These risk factors include such things as genetics, pregnancy, injuries, and obesity.
Varicose vein prevention begins by:
- Knowing the varicose vein risk factors and the ones that apply to you (see Cause of Varicose Veins)
- Making lifestyle changes to decrease your risk factors
- Improving blood circulation and muscle tone.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, prevention of varicose veins is easier said than done. While they can do all the right things, they may still have risk factors for varicose veins that they cannot control. With that said, if varicose veins do develop, the strategies discussed below can also help ease discomfort from the varicose veins you already have.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs (see BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight).
- Do not cross your legs when sitting.
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings, known as compression stockings, which squeeze veins and prevent blood from flowing backwards. The single most important thing a person can do to slow down the development of new varicose veins is to wear graduated compression support stockings as much as possible during the day.
- Avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs.
- Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation, which can contribute to varicose veins. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water or swell.