How can I prevent spider and varicose veins?
Telangiectasia (intradermal spider veins), subdermal reticular veins, and varicose veins have a strong familial and age-related basis, but genetics and age are not the only causes. Other causes that are addressable can help prevent spider veins and the more involved manifestation of venous disease, varicose veins.
Venous valves weaken with age. The venous circulation is a low-pressure circuit, and anything that slows the circulation will encourage the development of stasis, elevated venous pressure, and dilation, especially with deterioration in the venous valvular integrity with age. A large portion of the drive to circulate venous blood back to the heart is the muscle pump action of the legs with ambulation, exercise, or other movement. Therefore, venous valvular insufficiency and a sedentary lifestyle that involves prolonged sitting will provoke and augment venous hypertension. Prolonged standing adds another dimension as gravity pools a significant portion of one’s total blood volume in the legs.
Treating the cosmetic concerns of spider, reticular, and small varicose veins will not prevent future development of reflux venous disease, underscoring behavioral lifestyle changes that need to be implemented to eliminate prolonged inactivity. Since the progression of the pathology is affected by genetics and age, prevention relies on the elimination of the other sources of progression:
- Avoidance of prolonged sitting, standing, or inactivity. Changes in position from sitting to standing every 1-2 hours
- Daily walking to engage the pumping action of the leg muscles for venous return
- Compression stockings
- Smoking cessation
- Lower BMI in a rational weight-loss program
- Avoid excess estrogens, which can be caused by obesity and hormonal supplementation
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake