Being A Tall Person Can Cause Varicose Veins

Being A Tall Person Can Cause Varicose Veins

A common question by patients who suffer with varicose veins is; can being a tall person cause them?

And it may just be the case according to a large, well documented genetic study.

Millions of people all over the world suffer with varicose veins both mentally and physically.

The twisted, swollen veins that stand out under the skin in the legs can affect taller people more than smaller ones.

Whilst a lot of people don't have physical symptoms from varicose veins, they do affect them mentally and are known for causing distress, anxiety, depression and feeling self conscious.

In addition, just because a person does not feel immediate symptoms, does not mean they will escape it in the future, especially given the fact they are more at risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

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Height A Strong Risk Factor

The study and evidence that has recently been revealed, was taken from around half a million participants, and looked for common connections to varicose veins.

One important notable point was height.

The study revealed that being tall was present in the data of those most affected by varicose veins.

Those analysing the information did not expect to find such clear links between the two and it is a first of its kind.

People who are tall experience more pressure in their veins than those who are shorter.

More pressure can cause veins to dilate and become enlarged.

Furthermore, the data also revealed that whilst being tall was a strong risk factor, the genes in those people contributed too. This is because tall people had similar genes that affected the structure and make-up of the veins.

The evidence revealed in the latest study was obtained using machine technology, which pulled out the risk factors of varicose veins, some of which are already well known, such as pregnancy, age and gender.

Additionally, the study also revealed other risk factors including; smoking, being idle, hormone therapy, family history and those who had undergone surgery on their legs for other conditions or accidents.

Tall Vs Short

The data / evidence was considered a revelation and compared the tallest twenty-five percent to the shortest twenty-five percent.

Over seventy percent of taller people had a greater risk of developing varicose veins.

Whilst the data is substantial, it is only based on the UK population and therefore may not be reflected in other parts of the world.

None the less it provides a great insight in to outside influences that may increase the risk of people suffering with varicose veins in the future.

Being able to understand the evidence is not only revelatory, but will help in future patient care along with the advanced options of developing treatments and prevention measures of varicose veins.

If you are tall and worried about varicose veins developing now or in the future, maintaining a healthy active lifestyle of weight, diet and exercise is a good place to start and can improve muscle tone and blood circulation.

Speak with us for more information and advice on varicose veins and the treatment options available. We can provide guidance on how to keep the blood from pooling in the legs and flow better towards the heart.

Data in the study was from the UK Biobank and featured participants of people aged between 40 and 70. The technique used in analysing the data was Mendelian randomisation.

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What Causes Varicose Veins?

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins primarily in the legs, that have at some point widened, twisted or bulged, or a combination of the three.

They are very common in both male and females and can happen at any age.

Certain events in life can cause varicose veins, but some people can be prone to them also.

There are 2 types of veins that can be affected; deep veins located deep within the legs and superficial veins located near the surface.

As veins only carry the blood one way, they contain tiny valves that make sure the blood travels the correct way towards the heart.

Unfortunately the valves can fail, which allows blood to flow in both directions.

This can cause an overload in pressure at different moments, such as standing and exercising.

The increase in pressure can force the veins to widen and therefore the valves do not shut properly, causing even more blood to flow backwards and more pressure.

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So what is to blame?

Although varicose veins can run in the family, there are a number of factors that you can point the finger at. Including;

  • Hormones
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Activity - such as standing for a long time
  • Pregnancy

The first trimester during pregnancy is known for causing varicose veins due to the increase in the volume of blood and hormone levels.

Pregnancy is also known for putting the body under increased stress and as organs adapt, such as the uterus enlarging it can increase pressure in the veins.

Sometimes varicose veins can improve after giving birth. But if you have more than one child, varicose veins are more likely to appear and may not fade as well in the future.

So is there anything you can to do prevent varicose veins?

Whilst varicose veins can be down to your family genetics and history, there are a few things that you can do to prevent them, especially if you already know that they run in the family.

Standing for very long periods of time can sometimes contribute to causing varicose veins, especially if you are predisposed to them.

People who are in jobs that require standing idle for long periods should take caution and try to stick to health and safety at work regulations, such as regular breaks and changing position from standing to sitting and walking around.

As mentioned above, pregnancy is obviously a major factor in causing varicose veins, but despite the evidence, people wish to proceed anyway and deem it not extreme enough to put them off having children.

In addition, trauma can cause veins to become abnormal, including varicose veins and spider veins.

For example, jockeys who ride horses are prone developing problem veins on the inside of their legs.

If you notice varicose veins in the early stages, support socks / stockings are known for helping and can sometimes prevent them getting worse.

Are varicose veins only a cosmetic issue?

Thread veins, spider veins and some varicose veins can be cosmetic only, especially thread and spider.

However, some varicose veins can cause real ongoing issues if left untreated, such as developing ulcers, which don't heal, sore skin and swollen legs / ankles.

If you are symptomatic, sometimes an ultrasound scan can be performed to check out the extent of the problematic veins in your legs and guide you on the right path to treatment. A scan is able to see how the blood flows and pinpoint any valves that are not working correctly.

Sometimes people feel symptoms but ignore them because they are not too bad. Others have no symptoms at all but are put off by the way they look and often feel self conscious baring their legs in certain situations.

What is the best treatment?

Due to the number of contributing factors that can cause varicose veins, along with how much they can affect people in different ways, there is no one treatment that fits all.

Arranging a consultation with a specialist vein expert will provide you with the opportunity to ask many questions about varicose veins and the treatment options available.

For some patients, ablation may be the best course of action, whereas to others a foam treatment may be more beneficial, allowing the chemical to destroy the vein and force natural blood diversion.

Surgical stripping is also a viable option for patients who are bothered by the look of varicose veins, as the entire vein can be removed from the leg via one or two incisions that usually heal with minimal visible scarring.

Removing the vein is possible as there are many other veins in the body that take over following the removal of a problem vein.

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6 Things You Can Do To Help Varicose Veins

6 Things You Can Do To Help Varicose Veins

When varicose veins cause problems, people often seek help or advice on what their options are to help the problematic vein.

The issues caused by varicose veins can be physical, mental or both.

There are a number of treatments you can try at home to ease the pain of varicose veins and potentially make them less visible.

Common physical symptoms of a varicose vein present in the leg include:

  • Camps in the leg muscles, such as the calf
  • Dry skin that feels itchy or thin around the varicose vein
  • Swollen ankles / feet
  • Uncomfortable sensation such as burning, aching or heaviness
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When a patient has a varicose vein, there are some simple lifestyle changes and treatment options available. Including:

1. Support / compression stockings

You can pick up support socks / compression stockings on the high street, including from a pharmacy. These can help ease leg symptoms by applying constant pressure to the area. Compression against the legs can allow the veins and muscles to flow blood better back to the heart.

2. Diet / food

There are certain foods that can cause problems in the body and affect blood flow, such as food that is rich in salt.

Too much salt / sodium can overload the body and increase water retention. Cutting out salty foods can make a huge difference.

In addition, foods that are rich in potassium can further minimise water retention.

High potassium foods include:

  • Fish, such as tuna and salmon
  • Potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Nuts such as pistachio and almonds
  • White beans
  • Leafy vegetables

Constipation can also make some varicose veins worse. Pushing and straining too hard can put pressure on the valves in the veins and potentially aggravate them.

Eating fibre rich foods can help keep your bowel movements regular, such as wholegrain, wheat, oats, nuts and seeds.

Furthermore, being obese or overweight can not only cause varicose veins, but make them worse too. Eating a balanced diet and losing some weight can help.

3. Exercise

Exercising regularly can increase the overall circulation of the blood in the legs and body.

If valves are damaged, blood can collect / flow the wrong way in the veins.

Therefore, exercising can help push the blood in the correct direction and reduce blood pressure.

If you are worried about exercising with varicose veins or are experiencing symptoms, start with basic exercises and gradually work your way up.

You don't need to strain yourself with a hefty workout, simply partake in some light exercise to keep the calf muscles active, such as cycling, walking, yoga or swimming.

4. Raise your legs and wear suitable clothing

If you raise your legs so that they are positioned at the same height as your heart, or higher, it can help blood circulation around the body and back to the heart.

This can sound a bit silly or impossible to some people, but it's easier than you think. Laying flat on a bed for example will keep your legs level with your heart. Propping your ankles up with a pillow or two will raise your legs above your heart when laying in bed.

In addition, if you ensure you do not wear clothing that is tight fitting against your skin, you may find that the blood is less restricted and can flow more freely in and out of the lower body.

5. Massage

When people hear the word massage, they sometimes shudder at the thought of visiting a masseuse and revealing their varicose vein legs, which they are already self conscious about.

However, gentle massages can be performed by yourself, or your partner, and can help massively with blood flow.

Do not press or poke, but simply gently rub the affected area. Massages can be performed with or without oils / moisturiser.

6. Don't be idle

Standing or sitting for long periods of time can cause varicose veins and make already present ones worse.

Be sure to change position and keep moving around if you are on your feet all day.

People who work in certain jobs can be more prone to varicose veins than others. Jobs include; retail employees, security guards, caterers, hair dressers, factory line employees and librarians.

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