Vein disease occurs as the result of many different factors. Some, like gender (women are more likely to have vein disease than men), age (men and women over the age of 50 are at higher risk than those under that age), and genetics (you are more likely to have vein disease if your parents or grandparents had it) are outside your control. However our vein care specialists in NJ want you to know that other important risk factors for developing serious vein disease are within your control, and you can take proactive steps to reduce your risk, and thus to some extent prevent vein disease.
For example, smoking is a huge risk factor for both men and women, so the sooner you stop smoking, the better. But another important risk factor for vein disease is being overweight, or obese.
What should New Jersey residents know about the relationship of weight to vein disease?
Your veins convey blood back to the heart and lungs from all over your body, but one of the primary areas of the body that are prone to developing diseases of the veins are your legs. The reason for this, put simply, is gravity. Unlike arteries, your veins don’t have internal muscle tissue with which to pump blood; instead they rely on the contraction of the muscles surrounding the veins to pump deoxygenated blood and waste materials back to the heart and lungs.
This is made possible by a series of tiny, one-way valves that open when the muscles contract to allow blood to flow “upwards,” against the flow of gravity, and then close to prevent blood from flowing “downwards,” back into the veins. If these valves become damaged due to increased blood pressure and the force of gravity, they become “leaky” and prevent proper blood flow. One of the things that increases the potentially damaging pressure on these tiny valves is excess weight. Being overweight or obese thus increases your risk of internal vein damage, and it greatly increases your risk of developing varicose veins.
Healthy weight = healthy veins
Watching your weight, avoiding salty, spicy, and fatty foods, and getting more exercise thus become three of the most important preventive steps you can take towards achieving optimal vein health. Consult your doctor to determine your ideal weight, and work towards achieving it. Add more fiber and healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet, and stay away from the junk foods and fats.
And don’t forget to exercise. Not only will exercise facilitate weight loss, it will help you overcome another big risk factor for vein disease: inactivity. Sitting for long periods of time has been identified as not only a major cause of vein disease, but also a huge risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
Are you interested in other steps you can take to improve your vein health?
Give Cross County Cardiologists a call at 201-299-4479 and schedule an initial consultation with one of the top vein care specialists in NJ. They can assess the current state of your venous health in about an hour, work with you to discuss treatment options if you already have developed vein disease, and ways to prevent it if you haven’t. You can also find out more about your vein health at our website at www.crosscountycardiology.com