Does prolonged standing cause varicose veins?
The answer is yes – the chances of developing varicose veins if you have prolonged working hours where you stand up. Also, prolonged sitting can lead to the same problems with leg veins as well. Therefore it is important to know what to do if you start to have veins show up on your legs, how to best prevent it and treat it.
- What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are the secondary signs of venous insufficiency disease. This condition occurs as a disease of the vessels that carry blood back to the heart, usually affecting the legs. Over time, due to a buildup of higher pressure, the vein walls become weakened and stretched, causing the veins to bulge out and twist. Eventually the veins may become unable to pump enough blood back to the heart, causing blood to pool in the legs—a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). When CVI is present, blood flows backwards from the deep system through perforator veins to the superficial system leading to several types of changes.
- One type of superficial varicose veins are spider veins which have an appearance similar to the design of spider webs. Fine red threadlike veins are thicker purple veins can make up these networks of vessels
- Another type of varicosity is called a reticular vein which usually looks green or bluish-green in color but is larger and longer than spider veins. Many times spider veins are noticed to branch off from the reticular veins
- Larger varicose veins show up as rope like bulges under the skin which vary in size from small to large depending upon how much pressure builds up inside.
- What are the symptoms? You will see on your legs your veins starting to swell and sort of “pop out.” You may also get swelling and pain, in which case you need to contact a doctor, as the problem can progressively become worse when not treated.
- What causes it? Many individuals with varicose vein disease are genetically predisposed. So, combining that tendency with prolonged standing, or sitting, or pelvic pressure in pregnant females triggers the problem. It’s when the valves in the veins do not close properly, meaning blood flows back downwards due to gravity and pools in the legs. It can also be a complication of previous blood clots in the leg, leading to weakened vein walls, or defective vein valves.
- What to do to prevent it? A healthy diet, exercise, avoid tight jeans, or leggings, wear flat shoes that are comfortable (such as MBTs) and if you are on your legs all day long, sitting down as much as possible when you can. Also, avoid crossing your legs when sitting, as it prevents blood flow. Another tip is to put your legs up in front of you, above heart height, for 30 minutes by the end of the day. Wearing graduated compression hose with 15-20 or 20-30 mm mercury pressure can help prevent development and worsening of the condition
- Treatment: to get rid of varicose veins, you will usually need to seek medical attention. There are various options you can talk to your doctor about such as injections, laser treatment, and at times surgery.
If you work a lot on your feet it’s important that you do follow guidelines to avoid getting varicose veins. And when you discover them, treat them if necessary. That way they will not develop into chronic vein disease, which causes a lot more trouble and can lead to long term problems with swelling, pain, and at times leg ulcers.
See your physician at the earliest sign of problems to keep your legs healthy and beautiful.