Many jobs rely on workers to sit or stand for long periods of time, and it can wreak havoc on your vein health, causing blood clots or varicose veins. These conditions are very common but can become dangerous if left untreated. Luckily, there are a number of treatments that are available if you develop varicose veins, and there are also numerous steps you can take to prevent varicose veins and blood clots from developing in the first place.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
All veins have small valves inside them which control the blood flow from the limbs and extremities and help to pump the blood back to the heart. When these valves are damaged or weakened, the blood begins to pool inside the vein and causes it to become twisted and swollen.
This swelling is often itchy and painful, and can also discolor the skin. Usually, varicose veins and spider veins appear green and blue through the skin, and many people become self-conscious about the appearance of these veins. More importantly, the veins can put you at risk of blood clots and other complications.
Which Jobs Put You Most At Risk?
Jobs which involve standing or sitting all day or for long periods of time can increase your likelihood that you develop a blood clot or varicose or spider veins. There are several jobs which put you at greater risk, including:
- Retail work
- Flight attendants
- Truck driving or commercial driving
- Office workers
- Healthcare workers
- Hospitality workers
What Other Risk Factors Are There?
Other risk factors may exist that can increase your likelihood of developing varicose veins. For instance, it is very common for pregnant women to develop varicose veins due to the increased blood flow that occurs with pregnancy, and the pressure on the lower extremities of the growing fetus and organs. If you are overweight or
How Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?
There are a number of simple steps that you can take to prevent varicose veins from developing. First, make sure you take regular breaks from sitting or standing so that the pressure on your leg veins is reduced. If you are working in a sitting job, stand up and walk around to keep the blood flowing easily in your legs. If your role involves a lot of standing, make sure that you sit down and elevate your legs when you are able to do so.
Compression stockings are one of the easiest steps that you can take to prevent varicose veins from forming, and can also help to reduce pain if you have existing varicose veins. There are a number of benefits associated with compression stockings, and research has found that compression stockings can help to “reduce aches and pain associated with varicose veins”. If you have varicose veins as a result of pregnancy, they can also help to prevent leg swelling while you are pregnant.
Several different types of stockings exist, such as regular support stockings, over-the-counter compression stockings, and prescription compression stockings, which offer the firmest pressure on the leg. There are even compression stockings that are manufactured for women and men who are fashion-conscious, providing a number of different styles and patterns so that consumers don’t necessarily appear to be wearing compression stockings.
What Treatments Are Available?
There are several treatments that you can look into for treating your varicose veins. Modern vein treatments are usually minimally invasive, and new treatments are continually being developed. Currently, available vein treatments include:
- Treatments using heat energy to close off the leaking vein and stop the blood from pooling
- Foam sclerotherapy uses a foam that hardens and seals the vein.
- Sapheon glue (a newly developed technique which is not yet offered in many clinics)
If your role requires you to remain standing for long periods of time, or you sit down at a desk for significant portions of your day, looking into varicose vein prevention may be something to consider. Compression stockings can help, as well as taking preventative measures such as walking and elevating your legs to reduce the risk. Being aware of the risks that come with your job can help you to prevent varicose veins before they occur.
About The Author:
Jose Calvo is a health editor with a degree in Journalism and Social Communications, currently writing for several UK publications such as the Talk Health Partnership and Socialist Health. He works for a digital agency in Leeds called 90 Digital, helping health charities to raise awareness on campaigns about misunderstood or commonly misdiagnosed conditions. Find him on Twitter at @morienus