Although the precise cause of varicose veins is still unknown, the problem is usually blamed to the weakness of superficial veins.
The weakness may be hereditary, but may also appear overtime due to prolonged standing, causing the legs to feel tired and, most of the time, painful.
People who have varicose veins are usually those whose work involves standing for long hours, very much like nurses. Of course, you can prevent varicose veins from appearing, or if you already have them, you can stop them from worsening.
Fast Facts About Varicose Veins
- Varicose veins are big, blue, swollen and twisted veins underneath the skin.
- Visible varicose veins are 10 to 15% more prevalent in women than in men, largely because of pregnancy and female hormones, both of which can weaken veins.
- Even if the blue twisted veins cannot be seen, varicose veins may still be present if there is skin darkening or blackening or if there are appearances of wounds on the legs which do not heal.
- Hemorrhoids are a kind of varicose veins.
- Varicose veins don’t always hurt, but many people experience aching, swelling, cramping and itching around the raised veins.
- Any vein can become a varicose vein.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins – 8 Tips for Nurses
1. Take breaks. Varicose veins appear because of prolonged standing and leg fatigue. Make sure to take breaks at work. Sit down whenever you can and rest your legs while you’re at it.
2. Elevate your legs. Do this by lying down or by using a footstool when sitting. This will help relieve fatigue in your lower extremities, and therefore, prevent the veins from losing their elasticity. Elevate your legs at the end of the day everyday and your legs will feel so much better.
3. Avoid wearing tight clothes. Choose clothes that are comfortable enough for you to move around freely even while you work. Clothes that are too tight for your legs like girdles or skinny jeans can block the movement of blood up your legs. This may cause pooling of the blood, and in a short period of time, varicose veins may appear.
4. Avoid wearing high heels. It has been found that the muscles in your calves contract less when you’re wearing high-heeled shoes. This will cause the venous blood pressure to increase, thus, straining the valves in the veins. As much as possible, choose comfortable shoes, especially for your nursing clinicals.
5. Avoid crossing your legs. Although it has not been scientifically proven yet, crossing your legs may cause them, especially if varicose veins run in your family. Avoid crossing your legs whenever you’re sitting, so as to keep a good circulation in your legs and prevent your legs’ venous blood pressure from increasing.
6. Wear compression stockings. Choose the best compression stockings for you by knowing your leg measurements and the best level of tightness for you, usually around the range of 15 to 20 mmHg only. The stockings will help relieve leg fatigue and prevent varicose veins by applying pressure to your lower extremities.
Recommended: 9 Best Compression Stockings for Nurses
7. Eat right. The heavier you are, the more undue pressure you put on your legs, especially when you have to stand for long periods of time. Maintain healthy eating habits and make sure that you keep a daily exercise routine.
8. Stay fit. Moving around often will improve the circulation in your legs, thus, fending off the development and the probable worsening of varicose veins. Exercise also helps you stay fit and keeps your circulatory system healthy.
About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Philippines. She is always happy to share her passion for writing and blogging. With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically battles each day, one article at a time.