Affecting millions of people every year and a third of the population at some point in their life, the bumpy bulging and often described as vulgar veins protruding from beneath the skin on the legs is seen more as aesthetically ugly than a risk to our health. Is this the right way to think about them?

With the visual signs frequently comes severe pain and discomfort, swelling, aches and pains in the lower limbs, and a feeling of heavy over tired legs. These symptoms can make habitual tasks much harder and more of a challenge to someone with varicose veins. As swelling continues clothing options diminish and make wearing anything other than wide and loose-fitting shoes a dream. Small changes such as this begin to take its toll on many aspects of a persons life beyond the individual illness.

There is no direct cause of varicose veins with many contributing factors including weight, age, gender, and genetics. We can now add to this list, perhaps surprisingly, height. A study by Stanford University School of Medicine studied the genes of over 400,000 individuals looking for clues and signs that would help provide further explanation to the little known causes of this affliction. Using machine-learning analysis the researchers were shown that height could be a risk factor. Using this new found information further tests were run to try and produce accurate and scientifically based evidence for this suggestion.

Associate professor of surgery and cardiovascular medicine at Stanford, Nicholas Leeper commented that, “Our results strongly suggest height is a cause, not just a correlated factor, but an underlying mechanism leading to varicose veins“, Leeper continued by saying, “Genes that predict a person’s height may be at the root of this link between height and varicose veins and may provide clues for treating the condition. By conducting the largest genetic study ever performed for varicose vein disease, we now have a much better understanding of the biology that is altered in people at risk for the disease.”

So for those already suffering from varicose veins what treatments are there to help?

Varicose Vein Treatment options:

Compression Socks –

Being used for a wide range of medical issues different stockings provide different uses. There are different levels of compression in order to treat the differing level of severity for your veins. At their lowest level they are great for pain relief and the swelling usually occurring during pregnancy, or used for people who spend lots of their time on their feet. In professional sport, some athletes will use them to increase their blood flow efficiency in order to improve muscle performance.

Many people will correlate compression stockings to air travel and their help in avoiding deep vein thrombosis in those travelling on long haul flights. This highest level is usually medically prescribed.

Eat and Drink Well

It is incredible that people still don’t make the link between what you eat and how your body performs. Ensuring that your diet is full of foods high in antioxidants and fibre, while minimising your intake of salt and sugar will be the simplest approach to improving your physical stature. Along with this maintain a good level off fluids from food and drink to keep your body hydrated. Our body is mainly water so maintaining these levels help reduce levels of many illnesses including constipation, high blood pressure, and general malaise.

Watch your weight –

A quick fluctuation in weight either up and down can put a lot of strain and pressure on your veins. Take the right steps by managing your activity and food intake as mentioned above but by changing this to balance out any changes in other aspects of your life such as work. This is also why it is always prominent during pregnancy. If you do have unmanageable weight fluctuations, go and consult your doctor as it could be a sign of other underlying issues.