After a long day at work, we bet one of the first things you think about is getting off your feet (we won’t mention the other!). Your legs might feel tired and achy. You’ve probably spent much of the day standing – and you realize you’re at risk of varicose veins.
You don’t want to develop unsightly bulging veins. They can be painful and lead to more severe health problems.
But there are many ways you can avoid that scenario – whether you have to sit or stand too much at work! In this article, we’ll discuss:
- The jobs associated with a higher risk of varicose veins
- How to avoid developing varicose veins
- When to seek professional help and treatment
Jobs That Put You at Risk of Varicose Veins
Many risk factors lead to varicose veins, and virtually anyone can develop them. Genetics, age, weight, hormones, and a sedentary lifestyle are the most common ones – but did you know that your job can also play a role?
It seems unfair, but most jobs that require you to stand or sit for long periods of time put you at risk of varicose veins.
Danish researchers confirmed this with a 12-year study. They found that prolonged standing or walking at work accounted for around 22% of the varicose veins cases needing hospital treatment.
Here are just some examples of jobs that may increase your risk:
- Teachers and teacher’s aides: It’s hard to exercise properly in the confines of a classroom! Many educators spend long hours on their feet in front of a class, leading to fatigue and soreness in their legs.
- Healthcare professionals: Nurses, doctors, and others working in healthcare often provide patient care in a complex of endless corridors and large wards, working long shifts on their feet.
- Law enforcement personnel and correctional officers often have no option but to spend long hours standing or walking during their shifts. The toll on their legs shows up over time.
- Factory workers and construction workers: These jobs rarely allow for a change of posture – which can put stress on leg veins.
- Hairstylists and aestheticians: Cutting and styling hair, or providing skin treatments and massages, is nearly impossible to do except on your feet.
- Office workers: Sitting for at least eight hours every day for five days a week puts pressure on the legs and impedes blood flow. Even home working largely replicates the situation.
- Retail industry staff spend long hours on their feet, behind the cash register, helping customers around the store, and stocking shelves. There’s no way of this out in the sales world!
- Pilots and flight attendants: Air travel is harmful to everyone’s veins. Travelers are stuck in a small space and cannot reasonably keep walking to the toilets! Pilots usually sit for hours keeping an eye on the dashboards. Flight attendants walk around serving passengers. Everyone’s veins and legs are under pressure.
- Hospitality workers: Hotel and restaurant staff – whether in the kitchen, the bar, or bringing food to your table – are on their feet all day.
You can see how easy it is to not realize how many hours your legs bear your weight in many jobs.
How to Avoid Developing Varicose Veins in Your Job
As we indicated, during your working day, you tend to focus on the task at hand rather than your health.
But to prevent varicose veins from developing – or to slow down the progression of existing ones – it’s crucial you start to take the matter into your own hands and set some ground rules. Your health matters too much to let it slide!
We’ve mentioned these things before, but here’s a recap of what you can introduce to help offset the risk of varicose veins.
Eight to Embrace:
1 Move around
This works for both sitting and standing for a prolonged time. Take a break every hour to walk around and stretch your legs. This helps to improve blood flow and reduce pressure on veins.
2 Elevate your legs
You can also use breaks to keep your legs elevated above heart level for around 15 minutes. This prevents blood from pooling and improves circulation.
3 Wear compression stockings
These special stockings apply gentle pressure to your legs, helping to improve blood flow. There are many modern versions – you don’t have to look obvious and dowdy these days!
4 Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts extra pressure on your legs and veins, increasing the risk of varicose veins.
5 Eat a healthy diet
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help improve your blood flow and maintain a healthy weight for you.
6 Have an exercise routine
Never mind New Year resolutions. Just exercise whenever you get an opportunity! That’s a routine. Right? And it helps with circulation, maintains a healthy weight, and strengthens your veins and muscles.
7 Avoid high heels
High heels put extra pressure on your legs, increasing the risk of varicose veins. So, note the latest trend is trainers, and swap your heels out for lower heels or flatties.
8 Avoid tight clothes
Opt for loose clothing around your legs to reduce pressure on your lower veins.
When to Seek Professional Help
It’s best to act in the early stages of varicose vein development when your first symptoms might be:
- Aching and heavy legs
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Burning or throbbing sensation in your legs
- Muscle cramps at the end of the day
If you don’t take action, varicose veins will make their appearance and bring with them continued pain, heaviness, and burning sensations – as well as skin discoloration and dryness.
Worse, without treatment, those varicose veins increase your risk of ulcers and blood clots.
When it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
So – if you’re working in any demanding job that involves standing or sitting for hours, remember that your risk of varicose veins is increasing silently every day.
The good news is there are many treatment options. If you’re concerned about your risk or have already spotted any of the varicose veins symptoms we mentioned, contact your healthcare professional.
Don’t Let Varicose Vein Risk Hold You Back!
For the past 18 years, the Denver Vein team has been helping patients to regain their health and confidence.
Make your leg health a priority – despite your job! – and reach out to us for an appointment with a vein specialist who’ll help you with a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan. Let’s talk today!