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What Your Veins Can Tell You About Your Health

May 18, 2022

What Your Veins Can Tell You About Your Health

There are many reasons that veins can feel tender or look swollen. To discover why it’s happening in your case, see if any of these seven common causes apply to you.

1. Standing or Sitting Too Long

If you spend a lot of time sitting down or standing up, it can make bulging veins worse. This happens because blood starts to pool in the legs, putting extra pressure on your leg veins. Many people run into this situation at work because they have to spend hours sitting behind a desk or standing at a cash register.

2. Not Exercising Enough

When veins are healthy, blood naturally flows upwards toward your heart. For this process to work smoothly, your veins need a little help from your muscles. When you have strong leg muscles, it’s easier for the veins to circulate blood properly. A sedentary lifestyle is a big risk factor for varicose veins.

3. Being Overweight

The more you weigh, the harder your circulatory system needs to work to push blood back to your heart. They have to fight against gravity and body weight, so extra pounds can put a lot of pressure on leg veins. Overweight is also bad for your heart because it can cause high blood pressure and clogged arteries.

4. Experiencing Hormonal Changes

For some women, bulging veins may mean your hormones are out of balance. This can happen if you use hormonal birth control or hormonal treatments. Varicose veins are extremely common during pregnancy. Doctors believe this happens because excess estrogen or progesterone causes veins to expand. The good news is that veins typically return to normal when hormone levels do.

5. Eating Too Much Salt

Can salty foods really cause bulging veins? Absolutely. Sodium absorbs extra water, leading to water retention. This can stress your veins. A diet high in salt is one of the main causes of high blood pressure, too.

6. Smoking

If you’re looking for a reason to stop smoking, here’s another one. Smoking (and vaping) can damage veins, harden your arteries, restrict blood circulation and trigger inflammation. These symptoms can lead to varicose veins and they increase your risk of life-threatening deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).

7. Having Chronic Vein Insufficiency

Finally, if you frequently have swollen veins, you may have chronic vein insufficiency, or CVI. This means that the tiny valves in your veins aren’t working properly. Instead of closing tightly, some of the valves are letting blood leak backward and pool in your feet. This can cause your legs to feel heavy, sore and swollen.

What Can You Do About Vein Problems?

You may be able to calm the symptoms of varicose veins with a few lifestyle changes:

  • Get up and walk around every 20-30 minutes
  • Lose weight!
  • Exercise your leg muscles every day
  • Eat less salt
  • Stop smoking
  • Wear compression stockings

When Should You Worry About Vein Health?

Varicose veins and spider veins aren’t usually dangerous. These conditions may be a sign of health problems such as high blood pressure, though. You should call your doctor if veins cause pain, make it hard for your to sleep at night, swell significantly, cause a rash or ulcer, or make your leg change color.

Category: weight loss