Although many people think varicose veins only happen to women, it is in fact an equal-opportunity affliction. According to Stanford Hospital and Clinics, half of the general population suffers from venous disease. Roughly 45% of that half is male.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that up to 50% of all men may develop varicose veins. This means varicose veins are a guy thing too!
Decreased levels of progesterone during menopause increases the risk of venous disease in women. The painful symptoms and the appearance of veins on legs lead many women to seek a specialist. Men, perhaps because body hair masks the condition, often delay seeking treatment until their case is advanced. They shouldn’t.
Venus and Mars comparisons notwithstanding, varicose veins can be a serious medical condition. This condition can include vein inflammation, thrombosis, and bleeding. Luckily, there are highly effective and virtually painless procedures that make prompt treatment a gender-neutral no-brainer.
Causes and Symptoms
Veins, which return deoxygenated blood to the heart, become insufficient when their valves weaken or fail. Veins and their valves are constantly fighting gravity. Any insufficiently pumped blood may flow backward, pooling in the vein and causing it to stretch and or twist.
Varicose vein symptoms include:
• Veins that are dark blue or purple
• Veins that are twisted or bulging
• Achy or heavy feeling in the legs
• Burning, throbbing, cramping, and swelling in the lower leg
• Increased pain after sitting or standing for long periods
• Itching near one or more veins
• Skin discoloration
Prevention for Men
As with most things in life, being proactive about vein care is a major benefit. If you know that venous insufficiency runs in your family then taking preventative steps now is even more important. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential to vein health for men.
Your age and heredity are what they are. Short of time travel and genetic engineering, there’s not much you can do to fight them. You can, however, take action to fight the associated consequences and prevent or ameliorate varicose veins with exercise.
Obviously, men don’t experience menopause and its subsequent loss of progesterone. They do, however, produce less testosterone and HGH with each passing year, slowing the metabolism and causing weight gain.
Exercise helps alleviate this natural progression of weight gain in men. So, in case you needed more motivation to exercise, consider that fewer pounds mean less stress on veins and thus less tendency for blood pooling.
Working out will also build healthy leg muscles. Calf muscles are especially important to vein heath because they help pump blood back to your heart more efficiently.
If you’re just starting an exercise regimen, choose an activity (or better yet activities) you might enjoy. But don’t over-do it. Jogging, biking, elliptical training, swimming, yoga, and other low-impact activities are all great to move your body.
High-impact sports, torn ACLs, or a popped hamstring won’t do much for leg and venous health.
Remember, sitting in one position all day is your enemy. Standing without at least swaying from side to side is a close second. But that doesn’t mean you have to start training for the Olympics.
Studies have shown that any amount of regular movement is helpful. Anything from a brisk daily walk to just stepping away from your desk every so often, is far better than nothing. Every little bit counts and will in fact make a measurable difference.
Diet and Nutrition
A healthy diet helps keep your weight down, powers your workout, and improves your mood. Beyond that, dietary recommendations specific to venous health include:
• Adding fiber to prevent absorption of unhealthy fats and cholesterol buildup
• Boosting levels of vitamin C to aid the production of collagen and elastin, infrastructural tissues that literally support veins
• Staying hydrated to help fiber flush your system and maintain electrolyte balance
• Eating more rutin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in apple peels, asparagus, green tea, figs, cranberries, and citrus zest that reduces inflammation
• Consuming less salt, thus decreasing water retention and vein pressure
Relief from Varicose Vein
Wearing compression socks and keeping legs elevated can help support veins and reduce pressure. But these methods are palliative, not preventive measures.
And while the dietary and physical adjustments mentioned above are preventive, the presence of bulging and discolored veins or pain could very well mean clinical treatment is in order.
Should that be the case, your doctor may recommend one of several minimally invasive procedures that disable varicose veins and reroute blood flow.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT), for example, uses collimated laser heat to vaporize areas of varicose veins. ClariVein deploys a sealant-dispensing catheter into damaged veins. Verithena also uses a mini-catheter but delivers a blood-displacing, vein-collapsing foam.
Varicose veins are more than just an unsightly cosmetic issue. They are a medical affliction that causes strain to your body. It’s just as important for men as it is for women to speak to their doctor about varicose veins to avoid health complications.
Contact The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center to arrange an appointment and discover the pain-free lifestyle, confidence, and improved appearance that comes with circulatory health.