Varicose veins: Prevent unpleasant lumps by using these simple changes | Health | Life & Style
Varicose veins are protruding blood vessels that can cause itchiness and pain.
Treatment usually involves surgical procedures where needles are inserted into affected blood vessels.
However, there are steps you can take to prevent the condition.
Professor Mark Whiteley, a venous surgeon, told Express.co.uk that taking exercise will help prevent varicose veins.
Varicose veins are expected to affect as much as 30 per cent of the adult population, and Professor Whiteley warns they could strike at any time.
“Lifestyle changes will not stop you from developing varicose veins,” he said, “but there are a few measures that can be taken to help you suppress their development.
“For example, when you sit for extended periods, the muscles in your legs that normally help pump blood aren’t used very much.
“As a result, in patients with varicose veins or hidden varicose veins, the blood falls backwards down the leg veins.
“It can then pool in the lower leg, increasing swelling and the risk of making varicose veins even worse.
“To keep your leg muscles in working form, try not to sit in the same position for long periods and go for walks regularly.”
The NHS says that varicose veins are “usually caused by weak vein walls and valves”.
“Inside your veins are tiny one-way valves that open to let the blood through, and then close to prevent it flowing backwards,” they said.
“Sometimes the walls of the veins become stretched and lose their elasticity, causing the valves to weaken.
“If these don’t function properly, this can cause the blood to leak and flow backwards, collecting in your veins which become swollen and enlarged, causing varicose veins.”
You are more at risk of the condition if you are female, overweight, have a job involving long periods of standing or have a close family member with the condition.
Treatment for the lumps often starts with compression stockings, which squeeze your legs to help blood flow.
However, Professor Whiteley said, “although these stockings may relieve the pain and swelling, as soon as you remove the stockings the veins will return, as they do nothing to correct the underlying problems”.
Surgery to get rid of varicose veins includes endogenous laser ablation, which destroys veins causing the problem, and venaseal, when the main blood vessel causing varicose veins is closed.
If treatment is necessary, the NHS advises your doctor may first recommend up to six months of using compression stockings, taking regular exercise and elevating the affected area when resting.
Other common treatment options include endothermic ablation – where heat is used to seal affected veins are surgically removed.