Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: Zena on 09/08/2016 12:58:29

Title: Can varicose veins be prevented?
Post by: Zena on 09/08/2016 12:58:29
Zena asked the Naked Scientists:


What research is available regarding varicose veins.

How does one prevent pain and deterioration of veins?

Is there any research that indicates dietary influence on venuous function?

What do you think?
Title: Hear the answer to this question on our show
Post by: thedoc on 09/08/2016 16:38:11
We discussed this question on our  show
We put this to Naked Scientist Chris Smith...
Chris - Right well, what is a varicose vein? This is common; about half of men and half of women are destined to get varicose veins. The evidence is women will get them slightly younger than men. They are bulges or dilatations in the veins often seen in the legs, and the reason for this is the pressure is greatest in veins in you longest part of your body and your dependent tissues.
So, if you imagine yourself standing up, youíve got all of the mass of the blood in that column of blood vessel, which goes from your big toe right the back up to your heart, pushing down on your veins. Veins aid the return of the blood to the heart because they have valves in them and those valves allow one way flow. And every time you contract a muscle you squeeze the vein, and this applies a pressure to the blood and it pushes blood through the valve, and it moves it back up to the heart.
Now eventually, some of those valves fail a bit and so, instead of there being a short segment of water pressure pushing down on each segment of the vein, you can end up with a long column of water pushing down on one bit at the bottom of the vein. So the pressure on the wall of that vein can become quite high and it leads to that segment of the vein beginning to stretch or dilate and become torturous, and you often see this happening on the lower limb because thatís where the pressure is highest.
We know that they tend to be more common in people who gain weight. We know that pregnancy is a risk factor, probably because you gain a bit of weight but you also have more pressure on your venous system. We also know that family history seems to play a role. If you have a family history of people getting varicose veins, especially at a younger age, you are more likely to succumb to them yourself, but thatís not a given.
How can we treat them? Well, you can stop them happening in the first place up to a point if you minimise your risk factors. You can minimise your body mass index, which is a big risk.
Kat - Does putting your feet up a lot help?
Chris - It doesnít really seem to, no. Thereís not really any evidence that being lazy does help. Probably because you gain weight and so one thing begets the other.
The other thing you can do though is have surgery, and what you do is a strip of the vein and looks pretty nasty and it is pretty nasty. What you do - and Iíve done this operation - you take someone, hopefully anesthetized and asleep; it would be very painful if you didnít have them asleep. You thread a cannula up from the bottom of the vein right up to where it joins the vein at the top of the leg, and itís got a big bulge on the end of this cannula. This big thing - it looks a bit like a mini torpedo and once itís come out of the end of the vein you then yank back and strip out the whole of the vein all the way back along itís courseÖ
Kat - Ewww!
Chris - And rip it all out. And you rely on the blood then finding other routes back up inside the body and thatís called a stripping. And also the little ones, the little perforators, you do a multiple stab through the skin and whip them out and they just thrombose off. If they are a big problem you donít have to resort to surgery. What people sometimes do is wear those stockings called TED or thromboembolic deterrent stockings which are elastic stockings and they apply pressure across the wall of the vein, stopping the vein stretching and dilating. But, unfortunately, not everything improves with age and your risk of varicose veins is one of them.
Sorry Kat.
Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. ( Alternatively, [chapter podcast=1001410 track=16.08.09/Naked_Scientists_Show_16.08.09_1005558.mp3]( listen to the answer now[/chapter] or [download as MP3] (
Title: Re: Hear the answer to this question on our show
Post by: lucianastevens on 22/08/2018 02:53:39
I've had varicose veins since many years ago. It took me about 6 years to find a treatment that actually worked. I even tried laser treatment, but after a while, the varicose veins would appear again. Finding a good treatment took me through a frustrating process, finally, I found venorid, I recommend it! Besides this, exercising helped me a lot too.
Title: Re: Can varicose veins be prevented?
Post by: Nika2003 on 22/08/2018 22:13:11
Hey. This is a very popular topic. Many people have this problem. Varicose veins can develop when your veins are stretched or enlarged, resulting in tiny valves inside your veins becoming weak.
These tiny valves are crucial for pumping blood around your body, and when it comes to your legs, they already have a hard job as they force the blood to rise up against the flow of gravity.

If your valves are weakened, they will be struggling to perform their function, and instead the blood will flow back, gather in your veins and stimulate various symptoms, including their habitual appearance.
Fortunately, varicose veins do not necessarily have to be inevitable - there are a number of precautions that you can take to minimize the risk of their development.
Instead, you need to make sure that you train regularly to get blood pumping - this should not be an intense session in the gym, even gentle exercises such as yoga or a brisk walk are sufficient to improve your blood circulation and tone your legs!
What you eat can also affect your chances of developing varicose veins. Again, obesity is one of the main factors of this condition, so after a nutrient-rich diet in addition to getting a lot of exercise, you need to go a long way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In particular, foods high in refined sugars, caffeine or alcohol are likely to stimulate an inflammatory reaction in your body
Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy that is excellent for varicose veins, as it is known to help increase blood flow. You can take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar every day straight, or you can put a teaspoon in a glass of water to make it more palatable.
Also try to get a good intake of essential fatty acids - you can find them in fatty fish or superfoods, such as chias seeds.
Gentle massage can be a great way to stimulate your circulatory system and pump blood. However, if you suffer from varicose veins, some masseuses can avoid massaging the affected area, so massage, as a rule, works better as a preventive measure, and not as a cure.
You can also try to include the essential oil in the mixture. Some essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile, have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can be very soothing, helping to support your joints and cartilage.
Do preventive maintenance to the legs or foots and varices to you are not terrible.