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Taking Steps To Prevent Vein Disease

Medical science has various theories, but no definitive answers as to what causes vein disease in our legs. But there is general agreement that there are a variety of things that we all can and should be doing to minimize our risk for vein disease, and to slow its progress should it be affecting us.

Weight Control

Being overweight increases our risk for a variety of health problems, from heart disease to cancer. While the specific links between obesity and vein diseases are not understood, some studies have shown a correlation between excessive weight and higher risk for vein diseases and their associated health problems.

One theory holds that the increase body weight, characterized by increased amounts of body fat, exerts extra pressure on the circulatory system. This may be especially true in the pelvic area, where the veins from our legs re-enter the main body cavity. When these veins are compressed by extra body fat, it can increase the pressure on the valves within the upper veins of the leg, helping to lead to the failure of those valves and resulting in circulatory problems in our legs.

While weight loss is difficult for most of us to achieve, it is a goal worth working toward because of the many health benefits and decreased health risks that come with maintaining a proper weight.


One possible contributor to increased risk for vein disease may be the diets we choose. Most western diets tend to be low in fiber. High fiber diets, however, have been shown in various studies to help decrease risk for various types of cancer and heart disease.

There is also advice from various medical authorities that a high fiber diet may help decrease our risk for vein disease. One reason may be that a diet high in fiber helps move fecal matter through our digestive system more easily and quickly. The result can be that our colons empty quicker. One study found that the colons of people eating a high fiber diet emptied in less than half the time (35 hours versus 77 hours) of those eating a diet low in fiber.

There are various theories as to why a high fiber diet can help prevent vein disease. One is that the colon itself presses down on the veins from the legs as they head back toward our heart through the pelvic area. When the colon is full of waste, especially for an extended period of time, it increases the amount of pressure on those veins.

Some physicians also believe that the more frequent and easier bowel movements associated with a high fiber diet help avoid the straining that can come with the constipation often associated with low fiber diets. That straining to pass a stool puts additional pressure on the abdominal muscles, and may also increase pressure on the leg veins, thus making their work harder and increasing the chances of damage to the valves in the veins of the leg.

Increasing fiber in your diet is, however, relatively easy to do. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables is one easy way. You may also want to look for whole-grain versions of prepared foods, such as breads and cereals, that will help increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Legumes, such as beans, are another healthy food high in fiber.


Staying active appears to be one of the best things that anyone can do to prevent or minimize vein disease. While the valves within the veins in our legs are one important element that helps prevent varicose veins and other vein problems in our legs, the muscles that surround our veins also play an important role.

As we walk or move our legs, the expanding and contracting of those muscles helps compress our veins and push the blood up our veins and back toward our hearts. When we sit or stand with little or no movement for extended periods of time, we are making our heart do almost all the work of returning our blood -- against the pressure of gravity -- from our legs to our upper bodies.

But when we are walking and moving our legs, the contractions of our muscles help in pushing the blood out of our legs. And having tight, fit leg muscles also helps to apply a constant pressure to the veins in our legs, making it more difficult for them to become stretched and distended, which is what happens when we suffer from vein disease.

For anyone over the age of fifty or with existing health problems, it is almost always essential to discuss with your doctor the start of any new exercise program. In most cases, however, you will find that your physician will be very supportive of an increase in exercise, not only for the help it can provide in fighting vein disease, but for the numerous other health benefits that come with being more active and staying physically fit.

Being active does not have to mean heading for the gym and pumping iron. For most of us, simply getting even small amounts of increase physically activity in our lives will provide considerable benefits. Walking is one of the easiest and best things we all can do.

Health experts recommend, for maximum health benefit, about thirty minutes of physical activity most days of the week. A half hour walk can actually be a pleasant activity and one that most of us can fit into our lives. But if you find you are too busy to do it all at once, there is just as much benefit in breaking it up into sections. Find three ten-minute periods to take a walk, and you'll gain almost the same benefit as doing it all at once.

Compression Hosiery

Quality compression hosiery can help in the prevention of vein problems by providing support that assists the veins in the legs and helps keep them from becoming stretched and distended. While most people associate compression hosiery with seniors or those recovering from various medical procedures, the truth is that compression hosiery can be an important preventive in relation to vein diseases for virtually anyone.

Modern compression hosiery is now made out of materials and in styles that makes it fashionable and attractive for anyone to wear. It can be especially important for someone who spends long hours either on his or her feet or sitting behind a desk. Modern jobs that keep us relatively stationary during the day tend to provide insufficient exercise for the muscles in our legs. The result is that the veins in our legs are under higher pressure all day, not having the benefit of the constant muscle contractions that come with large amounts of walking to help move the spent blood out of our legs. Top quality compression hosiery provides pressure to protect the veins in our legs and help overcome the problems that come with being forced to be inactive for most of the day.

While the exact causes of most forms of vein disease may still be a medical mystery, weight control, proper diet, sufficient exercise, and the assistance of compression hosiery can certainly help to minimize the risk of vein disease in your life.

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