Varicose veins most often affect the legs and feet. Valves in the veins that help to pump blood back toward the heart can weaken or be damaged. When this happens blood pools in the veins causing them to swell. While varicose veins may sometimes lead to complications, in most cases, the condition may cause discomfort, but not serious medical problems. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery points out that even though some people are genetically inclined to get varicose veins, there are treatments and preventive measures that can help to minimize the symptoms.
Exercise regularly. Walking is one of the most effective ways to keep the blood in your legs circulating. Working out can also help you to lose weight, taking more pressure off the veins in your legs.
Keep moving. Try not to sit or stand for too long as this increases pressure in the veins, particularly those in the lower part of the body. Change your position at least every 30 minutes to improve blood flow.
Elevate your legs. Raise your legs above the level of your heart by resting them on a stack of pillows when you lie down. Do this for a few minutes whenever you are able throughout the day to increase circulation through your feet and legs.
Wear compression stockings. These can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Your doctor may also prescribe compression stockings if your legs require more compression strength.
Consider laser surgery if you are worried about the appearance of spider veins or smaller varicose veins. This is a mildly invasive procedure that slowly fades veins. A surgeon uses a laser to direct a beam of light onto the vein. Two to five treatments may be necessary to fade the vein.
Talk to a plastic surgeon or dermatologist (see Resources below) about a procedure called sclerotherapy. Performed in a doctor’s office, smaller veins are injected with a solution that closes the vein. A single procedure may involve administering multiple injections over a larger area. Within a few weeks following treatment, injected veins should begin to fade. In some cases, the same veins may need to be injected again.
- Pregnancy, gender, age, being overweight, heredity, and jobs that require you to be constantly on your legs are potential risk factors.
- Sitting with your legs crossed may interfere with blood circulation contributing to varicose veins.