Jobs which require you to stand for long periods of time may increase your risk of getting varicose veins and also aggravate them once you have them. The opposite is also true, a desk job that requires you to sit for prolonged time will also increase your susceptibility.
Varicose veins are most often hereditary and affect women more than men. Hormones are thought to play a role, from puberty, the use of birth control pills, through to pregnancy, and HRT and the menopause. Ageing and excess weight can also increase your chance of developing varicose veins.
The most common jobs that are related to varicose veins include:
Hairdressers and beauty therapists
Waiters and chefs
Doctors and nurses
Why are certain jobs a risk factor of varicose veins?
When you are standing, your veins have to work harder as your blood is moving against gravity. The valves in your leg veins help keep your blood moving upwards from your feet to your heart. If the veins are weakened it’s harder to pump your blood upwards and it can flow backward and pool in your legs, causing unsightly veins.
Tips to help you cope with varicose veins
There are some ways to lessen the chances of developing varicose veins or to ease the symptoms of existing varicose veins:
Move around - don’t sit or stand in one place for too long. You should aim to move around every 30 minutes. If you have a job that requires you to stand or sit for long periods, you should schedule regular breaks. Also try and shift your weight continuously. When sitting if it’s possible you should elevate your legs above the level of your heart and avoid crossing your legs.
Exercise regularly – this will improve your circulation and help you to maintain a healthy weight, taking some of the pressure off your veins and also strengthening them.
Maintain a healthy diet – this will help you keep your weight down, reduce pressure on your legs and veins, and help to keep your blood circulating well.
Wear loose clothing – tight clothing can put pressure on your legs and make varicose veins worse so loose clothing is a better option.
Wear low heeled or flat shoes – high heels can weaken your calf muscles so try to wear them only occasionally and not for long periods of time. Lower heeled shoes help to tone your calves and this can help your blood flow through your veins easier.
Support stockings – high quality compression stockings can provide support and improve your blood flow to ease your varicose veins and prevent them getting any larger.
Treatment for varicose veins
Many people who develop varicose veins don’t experience any other symptoms apart from their unattractive look. If you do have symptoms these may include: sore, achy, throbbing, tired, burning or itching legs.
Varicose veins won’t get better on their own. If left untreated, your varicose veins may become bigger or you may develop symptoms that become worse in time.
There are a number of modern treatments for varicose veins and your general surgeon will discuss these with you. Many are minimally invasive offering little downtime and excellent results. These include sclerotherapy and endovenous laser therapy (EVLT). If these are unsuitable or you would like your varicose vein removed fully then minor surgery can be performed.
Sclerotherapy – used to treat small varicose veins and takes just 20 minutes. A liquid, called a sclerosant, is injected into your vein through ultrasound guidance and it will damage and block your vein. The treated vein is reabsorbed by your body and your blood is re-routed through another healthy vein.
EVLT (endonvenous laser therapy) – often the first line of treatment for veins. A catheter is inserted into your vein using ultrasound guidance. A laser is passed through the catheter and delivers short bursts of energy along your entire vein, heating and closing it. Treatment takes less than an hour.
Varicose vein surgery – the usual surgical procedure is litigation and stripping. Your vein is tied, sealed and then removed. It’s performed under general anaesthetic and takes around an hour for one leg.
Local treatment available at Winfield Hospital
At Winfield Hospital they offer prompt appointments for their local varicose vein service. They can remove varicose veins for both medical and cosmetic reasons. The service to remove veins cosmetically is not available on the NHS.
Winfield's experienced vascular surgeons, Mr David Cooper and Miss Caroline Rodd, offer modern methods of treatment including the walk in walk out options such as sclerotherapy and EVLA as well as varicose vein surgery with ligation and stripping being the usual surgical option.
For more information or to book an appointment please call 01452 331111 or contact Winfield Hospital online.