As the saying goes, “prevention is better than a cure”. This is true for everything related to your health and wellbeing – and while we have outstanding treatment options that deliver fantastic results for varicose veins and spider veins here at Crows Nest Vein Clinic, preventing these problems from the outset is ideal.
It’s important to understand the causes and risk factors for these vascular issues and to implement various varicose vein prevention habits to minimize your own risk of developing this uncomfortable and unsightly health condition.
Varicose Veins are superficial veins located beneath the surface of the skin and which have enlarged and become twisted. They occur when the valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards in the vein fail or are compromised. Any vein can become varicose, however, the issue is most common in the lower legs. For some people, they are a purely cosmetic concern, but for others, they are painful and can lead to serious health implications. Symptoms include aching, pain, leg heaviness and fatigue, cramping, itching and burning.
Spider Veins (telangiectasias) are tiny veins which may appear anywhere on the surface of the body. They are red, purple, or blue, and are most common on the ankles, legs, chest, abdomen, and face. Very common, they resemble short, disconnected lines, are the width of a hair, and some may look like a spider’s web. They are usually associated with larger varicose veins nearby. Alone they are simply unsightly, however, if the result of underlying venous disease, they are a sign that treatment is needed.
Vein Disease Risk Factors
Anyone can develop and be affected by varicose and spider veins. There are, however, numerous factors which increase your risk of developing them.
- Age – varicose and spider veins can affect people at every age, however, are most common from around age 40. Ageing naturally causes the valves and vein walls to weaken and even collapse, especially when paired with other risk factors.
- Sex – biologically, women are more inclined to develop varicose veins than men, and this is driven by female hormones. Using hormonal contraception or menopausal hormone therapy can also increase the risk of varicose veins.
- Pregnancy – the growing foetus puts considerable pressure on the veins in the pelvis. This causes increased pooling of blood in the legs. For many women, after the baby has been born and the pressure is relieved, these varicose veins will naturally resolve.
- Hereditary Factors – if you have close biological family members (parents, grandparents) with varicose veins, then you are more likely to experience the same issues.
- Obesity – increased body weight can compress the veins, especially in the legs. This puts pressure on the vein walls and valves, causing strain and, ultimately, varicosity to develop.
- Prolonged Standing or Sitting – these can increase pressure and pooling of blood within the legs, weakening the veins.
- Damaged Veins – traumatic injuries (e.g. accidents) which damage the veins can later lead to venous enlargement and varicosity.
- Blood Clots – a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis can damage the walls of the vein or the valves, and this results in a high risk of varicose veins thereafter.
Varicose Vein and Spider Vein Prevention
Fortunately, there is an array of things you can do for varicose and spider vein prevention...
- Exercise Regularly to encourage better circulation of blood in the legs, to lower your blood pressure, and maintain your calf muscles.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight to reduce venous pressure, minimize discomfort, and mitigate swelling.
- Eat a Diet Low in Salt and High in Fibre to help maintain your weight and minimize water retention. Salt causes the body to retain water – so a low-salt diet is crucial for cardiovascular health. Choose high-potassium foods like lentils, almonds, salmon, tuna, and leafy greens to further reduce water retention. Fibre-rich foods prevent constipation (which can aggravate damaged valves) – so eat oats, seeds, legumes, and whole-grains.
- Eat Flavonoids to improve circulation, relax blood vessels, and potentially shrink varicose veins – try garlic, cocoa, onions, capsicums, broccoli, spinach, citrus, blueberries, cherries, grapes, and apples.
- Elevate your Legs to or above the level of the heart when you are resting or if you need to be sitting for long periods. This minimizes the effects of gravity and the pressure in the leg veins, letting blood flow smoothly to the heart
- Alter your Standing/Sitting Position Regularly and keep moving so that blood keeps flowing as it should. Avoid crossing your legs at the knees or ankles.
- Wear Compression Socks/Stockings to apply effective upward pressure to the legs, prevent blood pooling, and reduce aching and pain. These are especially important if you spend a long time sitting, standing, already have varicose veins, or have had a DVT in the past.
Treatment Options at Crows Nest Vein Clinic
If you are experiencing the side effects (physical or cosmetic) of spider veins or varicose veins (or both), Dr Nicole James at Crows Nest Vein Clinic has the solutions you seek. We perform Endovenous Laser Ablation and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy for varicose veins, and Microsclerotherapy for spider veins – Dr James will determine which treatment option is right on a case-by-case basis.
Book an Appointment at Crows Nest Vein Clinic Today
We are the top vein clinic in Sydney, delivering the highest standard of professional care and service. Dr James is highly trained and specialized in the most modern minimally-invasive vein treatments, and she is passionate about achieving great results for her patients.
Conveniently located, we are open for business as usual and we continue to adhere to strict COVID-safe practices and current advice from the NSW Department of Health.
Learn more about our vein treatments here.
To book a consultation with Dr James, call (02) 9906 1555. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected].