If you are currently suffering from varicose veins or at risk of developing them in the
future, here are a few helpful answers to common questions about venous health.
Varicose veins are a common circulatory disorder, affecting as many as 23% of American adults. Despite its prevalence, however, many patients still have questions about them, with many patients having little understanding of their condition or possible courses of treatment. We’ll clarify some of the more common queries about varicose veins to help you better understand them.
Q: Will my diet affect my varicose veins?
A: In a word, yes. What you eat can improve or exacerbate your varicose veins. Eating more colorful fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods, for example, will lead to a healthier body in general and in turn, healthier veins. In contrast, salty foods put greater pressure on veins by encouraging water retention. Similarly, dairy and red meat minimize the consumption of foods that can worsen varicose veins by promoting constipation, another source of excessive pressure on veins. A low sodium diet can be helpful.
Q: Who is at the highest risk of developing varicose veins?
A: While anyone can suffer from varicose veins, women are more likely to develop them than men. Pregnant women are at a particularly high risk. It’s also true, however, that about 42% of men experience venous insufficiency by the age of sixty. Regardless of their sex or age, people with a family history of varicose veins are generally more likely to develop them. People who stand or sit for prolonged periods of time are at an increased risk for developing symptomatic varicose veins.
Q: Can spider veins turn into varicose veins?
A: In some cases, developing varicose veins can be confused with spider veins, but in general, the two conditions are unconnected. Spider veins are caused by much milder swelling; while they may be more visible or darker than normal veins, they rarely protrude as significantly as varicose veins, and are usually much less painful.
Q: If I have varicose veins, should I change how I exercise?
A: While greater weight can put increased stress on veins, not all forms of exercise benefit your veins. Walking, swimming, stationary biking, and other gentler, low-impact activities are best, since they place the least amount of pressure on veins. In contrast, running on hard surfaces and heavy weightlifting can sometimes overstress your veins. Regardless of your fitness regimen, you should wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes whenever you exercise.
Q: What will happen if I leave my varicose veins alone?
A: When left untreated, varicose veins can result in sores, skin ulcers, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s best to treat varicose veins as soon as possible to avoid these costly and, in the case of DVT, potentially life-threatening complications. As unpleasant as they can be, varicose veins can be easily treated.
Schedule an appointment with Vascular Surgeon Dr. Andrew Hearn for expert vein care. At The Vein Center of Cincinnati, Dr. Hearn provides the latest, most advanced vein treatments to maintain or improve your vein health. During your initial consultation, Dr. Hearn will take the time to help you understand the underlying cause of your discomfort, explain your treatment options, and then guide you through every step of your procedure and recovery. Call our office today at (513) 232-2400, you’ll be glad you did!