Varicose Veins – What Causes Them and How to Treat Them

According to statistical data, approximately half of the population of the United States suffers from some sort of vein disorder. Out of this number, roughly 25 percent of women and 15 percent of men have varicose veins, which most commonly occur in the legs. While varicose veins are widely regarded as a purely cosmetic issue, they are an indicator of potentially serious problems. One danger associated with the disorder is skin ulcers. These occur due to a back-up of blood and are painful and heal slowly. A more immediate danger is deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot in the deeper veins of the affected leg. This can cause pain, swelling, redness and heavy feelings in the leg. If the blood clod breaks free and travels to the lungs, it could result in a pulmonary embolism, which is fatal if it’s not treated rapidly.

There are many things that can cause varicose veins. The biggest risk factor is a sedentary lifestyle and jobs that involve sitting down for long periods. However, they can also be caused by prolonged standing, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, injury, chronic inflammation and dehydration. Hypothyroidism also increases your risk of this disorder because it increases the clotting action of the blood. Although varicose veins have many causes, there are also multiple ways to treat them and prevent them from becoming a true threat to your health.

Reduce Vitamin K1 Intake

Contrary to popular belief, vitamin K is not potassium, but rather a group of fat-soluble nutrients known as phylloquinone, phytomenadione and phytonadione. These are collectively known as vitamin K1 and are used by the body to promote blood clotting. Because of the potency of their action, many experts recommend that people with vein disorders minimize their intake of these nutrients. They are most common in dark leafy greens and other vegetables, particularly those of the brassica (cabbage) family. Some of the vegetables highest in K1 include red and green cabbage, mustard and collard greens, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, turnips, broccoli and Swiss chard.

Avoid Goitrogens

Another common cause of venous problems is a sluggish thyroid gland, which can be caused or exacerbated by a multitude of common foods. When the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can cause abnormal blood clotting and venous distortion. All foods in the cabbage family, as well as amaranths like Swiss chard and spinach, tend to negatively affect thyroid function. Peanuts and garbanzo beans are some other foods to avoid for this reason. In addition, it’s strongly recommended to eliminate soy from your diet, particularly soy milk, tofu, soy nuts, soy butter, textured vegetable protein, soybean oil and imitation meats. Soy is the most goitrogenic of the legumes. It also promotes estrogen dominance, which is another significant risk factor in blood clotting and the development of varicose veins.

Drink Plenty of Water

According to statistics provided by the CDC, an estimated 74 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. While this can negatively affect many aspects of health, it can also cause the blood to thicken considerably. If dehydration is severe enough, the blood may even take on a syrup-like consistency, causing high blood pressure, abnormal clotting, and eventually, varicose veins.

Use Compression Stockings

For people who have varicose veins, wearing compression stockings is often a convenient and effective solution. These garments offer support to the vasculature of the legs, helping to hold the veins in place and prevent them from moving closer to the skin. With prolonged use, they also help to improve the appearance of these veins. Besides preventing and improving varicose veins, wearing compression garments can even reduce the likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis.

About this Article: Vein Clinics of Ireland is a professional and courteous service dedicated to the treatment of venous disease. Treatments include VNUS Closure procedure, Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Sclerotherapy and Treating Venous Ulcers.

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