The appearance of varicose veins on your legs result from several factors such as heredity, advancing age, overweight, lack of exercise or history of daily activities that require standing or sitting for long periods of time.
The normal flow of blood in your body begins from your heart at pressures high enough to carry oxygen through the muscular larger arteries, on to the smaller capillaries in your fingertips and toes, then back to the heart through veins that do not flex in diameter, but have a series of valves that help propel the blood back to the heart with each heartbeat. The valves open to allow the blood to flow, then close to prevent backward flow until the next beat which continues the flow, delivering the blood back to the heart for more oxygen.
With advancing age, our tissues and vessels lose some of their elasticity, adding the pull of gravity, blood tends to pool on the way back to the heart. The valves may no longer close all the way, standing for long periods of time enhance gravity’s pull, and lack of exercise allows the muscles to lose their strength and support of the vessels. Family history of your mother or father developing varicosities, and carrying extra pounds also make it difficult for the blood vessels to do their job.
What results is anything from small spider veins appearing near the surface of the skin, to larger “ropes” that lie deeper, but are visible because of their size and fullness, sometimes bulging from the skin. Unsightly, to say the least.
Here’s how you prevent them from developing:
- Regular exercise, especially walking, will keep the leg muscles in shape to better support the vessels of the legs.
- Keep your weight in check.
- Don’t wear clothing or stockings that can cut off the circulation when sitting.
- If you know varicose veins run in your family, wear support stockings as much as possible when you need to stand for long periods of time.
- Sit without crossing your legs to keep the blood flowing in your legs unrestricted.
- At the end of the day, put your feet up for a bit, or place something under the foot of your bed’s mattress to elevate it slightly while you sleep.
For more information about causes and treatment options, the Mayo Clinic is a very nice resource.
I have also found a higher strength pantyhose that comes in varying pressures through a company called Futuro. Wearing support hose can help you keep your legs lovely as long as possible. As a nurse, I wore support hose from when I was young, especially since I have varicose veins in my family. Although I do have them, they are nowhere near as significant as they could have been.
I hope this helps and thanks for stopping by!