Does Genetics Play a Role in Varicose Veins?

Does Genetics Play a Role in Varicose Veins?

Many people with varicose veins wonder if genetics played a role in their development—or if it destines them to get varicose veins if a parent has them. Is the answer all in your genes? And if it’s true that genetics plays a role in varicose veins, is there anything you can do to help?

To quote Sam Kean, an American science writer, “Genes are like the story, and DNA is the language that the story is written in.” But can you change your story?

According to the National Human Genome Human Research Institute, a genome is another name for the entirety of your DNA. Your DNA determines your specific genetic code and all the information needed to build and develop the one and only you! Each person has their own unique genome.

Learning about your own genome will provide insights into your own health and help you make healthful choices throughout your life.

So, there are things you can do, and good choices to make, to help yourself stay healthy. This applies to vein health as well.

close-up of legs with varicose veins

 

First, A Word About Varicose Veins

If a person has chronic venous insufficiency, they will develop varicose veins. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that makes it difficult for blood to flow back up to your heart easily. This occurs due to a problem with the tiny valves in the veins, or a weakening of the vein walls.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) usually affects veins in the legs. Blood flows in both directions and pools in the legs. The veins enlarge. We easily seen these enlarged veins since they usually bulge out of the skin. These veins are varicose veins.

 

Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Caused by Genetics?

Varicose veins are more likely to occur as a person ages. But what role does genetics play? Do gender, hormones, and ethnicity play a role?

Let’s see what the studies say.

Researchers have reported that they believe genetic factors play a big role in the development of varicose veins.

But the specific genetic factors influencing the development of varicose veins remain largely unknown and poorly understood. This, in part, is because there are many factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins. These factors range from hereditary factors to weight and lifestyle.

A man, woman, and two kids sitting on the edge of a pier

 

Gender and Varicose Vein Development

In one case-control study on 134 families, researchers found the following results:

  • If both parents had varicose veins, the risk for children of developing them was 90%.
  • If one parent had varicose veins, the risk for children developing them was 25% for males and 62% for females.
  • When only one parent had varicose veins, there seemed to be no correlation between the sex of the affected parent and the varicose veins in children.

They concluded their findings excluded a sex-linked pattern of inheritance.

Women have a greater chance of developing varicose veins than men do. How much genetics plays a role in this, and which genes are involved, is still to be determined.

 

Ethnicity and Varicose Vein Development

In a study of 2,211 people, chronic vein disease (the earliest stage is spider veins) “appeared to be more common in non-Hispanic whites than in Hispanics, African-Americans, and East Asians.” However, the study went on to say that these results were most likely linked with social habits; they did not seem to be linked to genetics.

A study of four ethnic groups in Southern California, using visual examination and ultrasound, showed that:

  • Varicose veins were present in 33% of woman and 17% of men, with no ethnic differences

It concluded that the presence of varicose veins varied by gender but not by ethnicity.

 

Hormones and Varicose Vein Development

Today, it is an accepted fact that women’s hormones can play a role in the development of varicose veins. During pregnancy, elevated hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone can thin the walls of veins, making pregnant women more susceptible to chronic venous insufficiency. Estrogen can also cause damage to the valves inside veins.

Menopause also will affect the health of women’s veins, but in the opposite way. During this time, a woman’s hormone levels decrease. This makes the walls of the veins thicker, less flexible, and more constricted.

Person in sneakers and compression socks walking up a grassy incline

 

How To Help Prevent Hereditary Varicose Veins

Clearly, there are some things about varicose veins that are out of our control—they are written somewhere in your DNA! But there are things you can do to help prevent them.

  • Keep at a healthy weight
  • Exercise—walking is great for vein health
  • Try to avoid sitting or standing still for long periods of time
  • Wear compression socks or stockings
  • Eat a healthy diet, including complex carbs and protein
  • Avoid salty food
  • Drink lots of water

If you have varicose veins . . .

If you have varicose veins that are simply unattractive, or that are causing you discomfort, make an appointment to see us at NJVVC. At our state-of-the-art vein center, you can have a complete vain evaluation, and receive treatment for your varicose veins.

Does Health Insurance Cover Varicose Vein Treatment?

Does Health Insurance Cover Varicose Vein Treatment?

Do you feel leg pain from varicose veins? Are you embarrassed to wear shorts or a bathing suit because of the varicose veins on your thighs? If so, treatment is available. But will your health insurance cover your varicose vein treatment?

Medical Necessity vs Cosmetic Appeal

Varicose veins can cause discomfort. This makes some people dread the thought of standing on their feet for a long time. Varicose veins can cause sores or ulcers to develop on legs and ankles. They can even promote development of blood clots. These veins are cause medical problems for the patient.

For others, varicose veins are more of a cosmetic embarrassment.

Are your varicose veins a threat to your good health, or are they simply unattractive? It’s important that you know the answer not only for your health but for medical insurance coverage as well.

• When varicose veins affect your health, treatment is a medical necessity. Medical insurance usually pays.

• Varicose veins are a cosmetic problem when they don’t threaten your health or well-being. Medical insurance won’t cover treatment.

To learn about your vein health, make an appointment to visit our office. Our highly skilled vein specialist will check your veins. He can develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

We even offer a free vascular screening. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. You will feel better and enjoy improved vascular health.

A stethoscope and surgical mask are on top of a few forms marked “Medical Insurance Claim Form.”

 

How do Health Insurance Companies Define a “Medical Necessity?”

Let’s start with what we know. Medical insurance will cover treatment of varicose veins when it’s a medical necessity. But here’s the catch. What one company considers a medical necessity, the next company may not.

Visit our web page on Varicose Veins to learn more. There we discuss the symptoms and treatments of varicose veins. You will learn the specific symptoms that usually make treatment a medical necessity.

The criteria most insurance companies base their coverage approval on are:

1. Annoying or Painful Symptoms

2. Identified Venous Reflux— Insurance companies want proof that a vein is not functioning. Documented venous reflux, when blood flows backwards in a vein, is cause for treatment. We diagnose it with ultrasound. However, ultrasound cannot show venous reflux in spider veins; they are too small. So, medical insurance doesn’t cover the treatment of spider veins. They may make an exception for bleeding spider veins.

3. A specified Time of Unsuccessful Conservative Treatment— Did you try an improved diet and exercise plan? Did you wear compression socks daily? Did you rest and elevate your legs each day? The insurance company will want to know this information. Each insurance company has their own requirements. Some insurance companies want you to wear compression socks for 12 weeks.

The important takeaway here is that you need to learn what your insurance company covers. A friend’s experience with a different insurance policy can be quite different. This can be true even if they use the same medical insurance company.

clipboard with Medicare form listing Medicare Parts A through D

 

Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Supplemental Plan Coverage

Medicare offers great news for treatment—that is, when the veins are causing a health issue.

This Federal health insurance requires that treatment will protect or improve your health. They may want to know that you already tried lifestyle changes. But ultimately you can count on Medicare’s financial support.

Some common vein treatments that Medicare covers include:

• Sclerotherapy
• Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy
• Laser Vein Ablation

Medicare will usually cover 80% of these costs. It is useful to have a good supplemental insurance plan to cover the remaining 20% of costs.

Be aware that Medicare Advantage will attach many stipulations to its coverage. Coverage from Medicare Advantage differs from coverage by Medicare.

Medicare and More Varicose Vein Treatments

Varicose vein removal coverage is less straightforward. There are many costs to consider, including:

• Doctor’s Fees
• Facility Cost
• Anesthesia
• Method of Extraction
• Number of Medical Sessions Needed

white paper cutout of a family of five flanked by red hearts and a stethoscope

 

Do private health insurance companies, such Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), United Healthcare (UHC) and Aetna, cover varicose vein treatments?

BCBS, UHC and Aetna are three major insurance companies that cover varicose vein treatments. But like Medicare, the companies only cover treatments of medical necessity. They won’t cover costs for a cosmetic procedure.

Each insurance company has its own criteria to meet. Once this occurs, they approve varicose vein treatment.

Contact your own insurance company to learn the specifics of your plan and policy.

Wonder if our office accepts your insurance? Then visit our website for a list of insurances we accept and to see if we are in network for your plan.

What about Varithena®, ClariVein®, and Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLT)?

These are three of the outpatient treatments option that we provide for varicose veins.

Will your medical insurance provide coverage?

Varithena is an FDA-approved sclerotherapy medication. Our doctor injects it into the varicose vein to displace the blood and cause the vein to collapse. Medicare and most private insurance companies cover this non-surgical treatment. But again, it must be a medical necessary necessity. And insurance wants to see you first tried conservative treatment options.

ClariVein is a tiny rotating catheter used in non-thermal treatment of varicose veins. Some private insurance companies and Medicare cover vein treatment using the ClariVein catheter.

EVLT uses laser heat to treat varicose veins. We give the patient local anesthesia. Guided by ultrasound, the laser closes off the vein. Our patient’s health insurance usually covers this procedure. Again, insurance companies want to see that we tried other treatment options first.

older grey-haired man wearing compression socks sitting on a rock outcropping

 

Let’s not forget about compression socks and stockings

Patients often wear compression socks as a conservative first-line treatment for varicose veins. Patients also need to wear them after vein procedures or surgery. But Medicare does not pay for these socks—even if the doctor writes a prescription.

Medicare Advantage plans may provide some coverage for compression socks or stockings under certain circumstances. This helps since compression socks can cost more than $100 with certain prescriptions.

Are you ready to take the first step?

Does treatment for your varicose veins qualify as a medical necessity? For the answer, contact us for an appointment at New Jersey Varicose Vein Center. You will enjoy visiting our state-of-the-art vein treatment facility. And you will leave with a clear idea of the medical coverage you can expect.

How the Summer Heat Affects Your Veins

How the Summer Heat Affects Your Veins

We all love summer. But if you suffer from symptoms of varicose veins, the heat can be a hazard to your health. Don’t let summer keep you indoors. Use our tips to beat the heat.

It’s the time of year to go to the beach, hike, or simply enjoy relaxing on your deck.  Throughout the season, your first concern may be the sun’s effect on your skin.

But did you know how seriously the summer heat affects your veins? From swelling to discomfort, the heat can wind up being a real inconvenience. 

What the Summer Brings

Summertime naturally leads to more time spent outdoors. The combination of outdoor activity and rising temperature means more pronounced vein conditions.

In the heat, veins naturally dilate for better blood flow. However, when veins swell it can cause issues.

Dilated veins mean your body must fight gravity harder to circulate blood back up to the heart. This added stress can lead to weary veins.

Often, this results in damaged veins and the accumulation of blood in the lower legs. This is how varicose veins can develop and where added discomfort and pain begin. It is also the precursor for a more serious issue called Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

Who is at Risk

There are over 24 million people in the United States that suffer from varicose veins. But the people most at risk are females over fifty years of age.

Women who have had multiple pregnancies are also at a higher risk because of additional stressed placed on veins.
Hormonal changes also affect the onset of venous disease. Women in menopause should be particularly careful during the warmer months.

Although it may seem like varicose veins is a disease that targets women, it’s a guy thing too. In fact, nearly 45% of people who suffer from varicose veins are men.

Certain occupations are also more at risk for varicose veins than others. Jobs that include standing or sitting for long periods of time are prone to vein issues.

People who suffer from varicose veins are often affected physically and mentally. Constant pain, even if slight, can greatly impact your attitude and mental state.

Prevention and Preparation

The appearance of varicose veins and unwanted pain can take its toll on anyone. But trying to prevent vein conditions and slow existing ones is a step in the right direction.

Prevention of vein conditions in the summer is similar to prevention during the rest of the year. But it’s important to remember that conditions can easily be exacerbated in hot and humid weather.

By following these guidelines, you should make it through the summer months without added discomfort:

Good General Health

Maintaining a healthy weight, activity, and eating properly are all important for vein health.

Extra weight can put a lot of stress on your body and particularly your legs. Staying in good physical condition means not only a healthy diet but also regular moderate exercising.  The combination of movement and eating right may also help reduce excess weight.

Eating foods that improve circulation is another great way to protect your veins.

And believe it or not, standing up and walking around for only a few minutes really does help!

Stay Hydrated

Drink.  Drink.  Drink. Getting plenty of fluids to stay hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to remain healthy in the summer heat.

Do you know the recommended amount to drink?  Divide your weight in pounds by 2. The answer is the number of ounces you should be drinking daily.

For example, a 150-pound woman should drink 75 ounces of water per day. Though water is the best for hydration, consider supplementing with herbal teas, electrolyte drinks, or fruit-infused water for variety. Just make sure it doesn’t include added sugar or caffeine.

Hydration is key to blood flow. If you aren’t drinking enough water, you may want to start bringing some with you wherever you go.

Remember, by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Wear Loose Pants

Wearing loose pants allows the blood to flow properly with no added resistance.

Try wearing loose-fitting pants if you are going to be out for an extended time. Lightweight, natural fabrics will still allow you to be cool, and can cover your skin from the sun’s direct rays.

Leg Room When Traveling

When traveling in a car, plane, or even sitting at work, giving yourself the appropriate legroom helps with circulation.

Extended plane or automobile trips can result in lengthy periods of sitting in one position. It’s important during these prolonged periods of inactivity to use specific exercises while-on the go.

Get up from your seat on the plane and walk up and down the aisle. Pull into rest areas so that you can get out of the car and move around. Your veins will thank you.

Wear Compression Socks or Stockings

Compression socks and stockings use pressure to help push blood through your lower legs. They are an amazing way to help counter the effects of gravity. It’s really important to wear them if you sit or stand for prolonged periods of time.

Wearing compression stockings or leggings can help your legs feel better and assist your veins in working at an optimal level.

Compression garments are readily available at drug stores, sporting goods stores, and online. They are more comfortable than in the past and are designed to breathe better.

Wear them while working out, being active, or most importantly while traveling.

Put Your Feet Up

Gravity is the main cause of varicose veins, but it can also be a factor that prevents them. By elevating your legs, you are causing the blood to flow to other parts of your body.

Even if there is no place to put your feet up on that plane or in the car, elevate your legs whenever possible. At the beach, try putting your feet up on your bag, a towel, or even a beach ball.

If you are at the park, don’t be afraid to use a bench to elevate your legs.  Even a slight elevation will help get your blood pumping back towards your heart and out of your legs.

Cool Down

Beat the heat and cool off. Try to sit in the shade. Wear a hat. Take a dip in the pool. Sip on a cool drink. Go inside occasionally to cool yourself down. And always, always, always wear sunscreen!

Exercising and other activities are best done early in the morning or later in the evening so that the midday sun isn’t bearing down on you.

New-Jersey-Vein-and-Vascular-Center

Help is Available

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Staying active, traveling, going on vacation, and soaking up the sun are all ways to enjoy the season.

However, over-exposure to hot temperatures for extended periods of time can cause pain and discomfort for those who suffer from varicose veins.

In addition, your lifestyle, including an unhealthy diet, inactivity, or not staying sufficiently hydrated, can cause pain and swelling. By employing compression, heat management, activity breaks, and hydration you can reduce your symptoms.

But if you would like to eliminate discomfort quickly, make an appointment with a vein specialist about medical treatment options.

Suffering from venous issues doesn’t mean you have to forgo the outdoors this summer. Keeping a healthy weight and limiting strenuous activity in the heat are important.

Knowledge and preparation will allow you to enjoy the outdoors while minimizing discomfort.

The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center is here to help, please contact us today to learn more.

This blog has been updated and republished in August 2021.

Top Foods That Improve Circulation and Vein Health (Updated 2021)

Top Foods That Improve Circulation and Vein Health (Updated 2021)

Some foods make more of an impact on vein health than others. That is why we have compiled a list of the best power foods to eat for your circulation.

Restless legs and arms, swollen veins, and skin discoloration. If these symptoms are a daily occurrence for you, you might have poor blood circulation. And you’re not alone. With a few changes to your diet, you can make a huge improvement to your circulatory system and overall health.

Our circulation affects every aspect of our health. How we eat affects digestion, energy, weight gain or loss, pH levels, and even body temperature.

The circulation system provides the oxygen necessary for organs to function. Key nutrients keep your veins strong and flexible. But not all nutrients are created equal.

Bioflavonoids-Rich Food

Bioflavonoids give foods their vibrant colors. So, on your next grocery run, choose colorful vegetables to add to your cart. A diet containing a higher percentage of bioflavonoid rich foods will help prevent the development of varicose veins.

Choose a diet including leafy greens, rich purples, orange, red and yellow. The more colorful your diet is, the better.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba, commonly known as ginkgo, is one of the oldest living tree species that is native to China. Although poisonous to eat, ginkgo is available as an oral tablet, extract, or tea.

The ginkgo seeds have been a part of Chinese medicine for ages. It is said to increase blood flow. Scientific evidence has proven this belief to be true.

For blood vessels to dilate, nitric oxide must be present. Ginkgo increases the levels of nitric oxide in the blood-enhancing circulation.

Celery

Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting and healthy blood flow. Low in calories, high in several vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, celery is also a natural diuretic and high in electrolytes.

Often overlooked, this amazing vegetable helps to eliminate toxins. It is delicious in smoothies, soups, salads, or eaten raw and topped with hummus, peanut butter, or salsa.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate may please your sweet craving, but did you know it is also incredible for heart health and blood circulation? Dark chocolate comes from the Cocoa plant which contains flavanols. Like Bioflavonoids, this plant-based compound enhances production of Nitric Oxide–which improves blood flow.

Fiber

In addition to aiding in weight management, fiber encourages vein health. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It helps prevent constipation that can increase pressure on your veins causing issues.

Insoluble fiber, as the name suggests, does not dissolve in water. It works to reduce cholesterol levels and benefits heart health.

High fiber foods include apples, oats, carrots, flaxseed, berries, and barley.

Avocados

Avocados contain an antioxidant called Glutathione. This component is good for the blood vessels, and it aids in the prevention of varicose veins.

Avocados are a fruit that you can enjoy in many ways. Whether on a slice of toast, blended in a smoothie, or chopped into salsa, it’s easy to include in your diet.

Rosemary

You may have used this circulation booster as a garnish on food or in cocktails. Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, it works well to help in the prevention of varicose veins.

Additionally, rosemary reduces pain for many people struggling with vein-related issues. You can use rosemary as a spice for food, in essential oils, or even as a tea.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps boost your body’s production of collagen and elastin. It also improves circulation. Vitamin C deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing varicose or spider veins.

Include citrus and tropical fruits, broccoli, onions, spinach, and red bell peppers into your diet. These foods all contain high levels of vitamin C to keep your veins strong.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a powerful fruit packed with lots of vitamin K. They increase the production of platelets in the body and promote good blood health.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant. It aids in protection against cardiovascular illnesses. Moreover, lycopene helps reduce fat deposition in blood vessels.

Eat tomatoes any way you like – soups, salsa, or even juice – the benefits are outstanding.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are among the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. These fruits are naturally sweet and contain critical soluble fibers for the heart and blood.

Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are all high in Vitamin C.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are a nutritious way to promote your overall circulatory health. They are rich in nitrates and polyphenol antioxidants, two powerful vasodilators. Vasodilators widen blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily.

Pomegranates are especially beneficial for people who lead an active lifestyle. That is because they improve oxygenated blood flow to muscle tissue.

Try using pomegranate supplements, juices, or simply eating the raw fruit.

Garlic

A natural blood thinner, garlic has been used medicinally for centuries. It helps to relieve stress on veins and throughout the body. Garlic decreases the risk of hypertension by reducing blood pressure.

If you already take a blood-thinning medication, check with your doctor before adding a garlic supplement to your routine.

Cinnamon

This naturally occurring warming spice is extremely heart healthy. Cinnamon relaxes our blood vessels allowing them to widen. It has been proven to increase blood flow to the coronary artery, the main supply of blood to the heart.

Research indicates that by adding a daily cinnamon supplement, blood pressure lowered in those at risk for hypertension.

Ginger

Often used to aid in digestion or relieve nausea, ginger is also known to increase blood circulation. Add some to your stir fry or add some into your tea.

Ginger can also help clear congestion when those winter colds set in.

Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids naturally occur in fish oil and aid in healthy blood flow. They reduce pressure on veins and arteries. Fish oils are further associated with the health of our musculoskeletal system.

The musculoskeletal system provides us with movement, stability, and support. Fatty fish such as salmon are a great supplier of Omega-3.

 Phenol Rich Foods

Phenol rich foods act as a protectant and can give our bodies a boost. Phenol is considered an antioxidant that benefits the entire body.

Good sources of phenol foods are peas, beans, soy milk, black and green teas, parsley, and broccoli. The high phenol content of olive oil reduces the risk of developing a blood clot.

 Beets

Did you know a common ingredient in most sports drinks is beet powder or beet juice? That’s because beets are linked to improved performance in athletes. Beets contain a high number of nitrates that the body converts to nitric oxide – a blood flow enhancement nutrient.

Although, beets aren’t only for the sports minded. Many older adults with circulatory health issues have found success by adding beets to their daily regimen.

Raw Nuts and Seeds

Nuts contain niacin or vitamin B3 which prevent circulation problems. They also aid with inflammation and are helpful to those with diabetes. Walnuts and almonds are two of the most nutrient-packed nuts that are said to help clear arteries.

Hemp, chia, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds have large amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They are all a good source of anti-inflammatory proteins that help lower cholesterol and improve blood quality.

Turmeric

Increased blood flow is one small benefit provided by the spice turmeric. In fact, in ancient Chinese medicine, there are several uses for turmeric besides opening blood vessels.

Turmeric has been used for centuries as a healing agent to treat chronic pain. It decreases inflammation throughout the body and even aids in depression.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper strengthens the arteries and blood vessels. It also boosts your metabolism and helps reduce weight. It’s best to eat raw and can be added to a smoothie for an extra kick.

Staying Hydrated

One of the most important habits to focus on for the health of your veins is staying hydrated. Your best source of hydration is water. Water keeps your blood from becoming too thick, which increases your risk of blood clots, poor circulation, and varicose veins.

A healthy diet can improve circulation and vein health, providing benefits to the entire body. In addition to diet there are other ways to improve circulation.

One-third of our population over the age of 45 has some form of vein disease. Early symptoms may be minor but could become severe. While vein disease can be hereditary, lifestyle and food choices also affect your veins.

It is important to treat vein disease to prevent permanent damage or disability. If you have concerns about the health of your veins, consult with a healthcare professional. Contact The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center. We can relieve your symptoms, improve your appearance, and help you prevent complications.

How Alcohol Contributes to Varicose Veins

How Alcohol Contributes to Varicose Veins

The human body sustains itself through the coordination of multiple organs, processes, glands, and veins. The circulatory system is our body’s “super-highway” essential to good health  as it delivers  nutrients and oxygen in and removes waste from the body. The body’s blood and the traffic system it uses to make its way around the body is essential to sustain the entire system. Without a blood supply, the body dies in a matter of minutes. And our health is intrinsically tied to how well our blood flows and moves through our system every minute, hour, and day. Smoking, poor diet, excessive alcohol, and inactivity makes any preexisting problem worse and affects the blood flow which can eventually lead to the development of varicose veins.

As many of us learned in high school biology, the human circulatory system consists of arteries, veins, and capillaries. What pushes the blood through this network is the pressure created by the pumping of the heart. The system acts as a closed-loop; when blood is sent out, it eventually returns back to the heart to be pumped out again. The only part of the system not integrated with the circulatory system are the bones, which are the factory where blood cells are actually first created.

Over time, our age and lifestyle affect the efficiency of our individual systems. Cholesterol builds up from diet and affects the pressure and flow of blood in veins. Age wears down our overall body system, and things begin to break from wear and tear. If you are overweight, this can also increase pressure on the system beyond normal conditions. Alcohol consumption contributes to certain vein conditions too. Excessive drinking affects the circulatory system and every major organ in the body. Alcohol is more harmful when the circulatory system has already been compromised by vein diseases.

Cause and Effect of Alcohol on Veins

The heavy consumption of alcohol puts an additional strain on the body by increasing the heart rate. Among other things, the body tries to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood by pumping more of it faster.  This is because alcohol actually kills red blood cells that are responsible for delivering oxygen throughout the body.  This gets particularly hard for the lower extremities in the legs and feet where the circulatory system has to fight gravity to push the blood back up to the heart. Over time, this increased strain on the circulatory system can contribute to varicose veins in the legs.

It affects the body’s vein network indirectly as well. High alcohol overwhelms the liver, and it can’t filter waste out of the blood efficiently. That makes the blood thicker over time, and it becomes harder to push through the circulatory system. This adds strain and pressure that causes damage to the veins. Also, when the liver is overburdened with excessive alcohol consumption, the toxins that would otherwise be filtered out of your bloodstream begin to degrade the interior surface of the veins as well.

A Point of Clarification

It’s important to understand that drinking alcohol alone doesn’t automatically result in varicose veins. If a person is predisposed to develop the condition, it will happen regardless of whether the person drinks regularly or not. However, alcohol makes it more likely that varicose veins will develop in a person over time. Regular alcohol consumption enhances the impact of other problems as well. It can add to extra weight, increase pressure on already existing heart problems, or adds damage to a struggling liver.

Getting Help from Experts on Veins

At The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center, located in Morris County, patients benefit from the expertise of vein specialists, Dr. Stuart Miller. At the NJVVC, Dr. Miller and his team provide state of the art care in vein treatment and recovery, to all kinds of vascular cases. Every patient undergoes a precise treatment plan for their individual need and vein condition, not a generic, one-size-fits-all treatment.

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