Health

Bad habits cause varicose veins

Taking a break from high heels and quitting smoking can prevent the formation of lumpy blue lines on your legs

Varicose veins are nothing to panic about, but they can be annoying and may lead to health issues down the road.

Prevention - as well as pointing out any areas of concern to your doctor - is key.

There are, however, some surprising everyday habits people are guilty of that lead to the formation of those lumpy blue lines.

CROSSING LEGS

If you have heard the rumour that crossing your legs can cause varicose veins, it is half true.

This is due to the pressure the position can put on your legs and hips, which can cause veins to engorge with blood and thus become more visible.

WEARING HIGH HEELS

If you are all about stilettos, it may be wise to wear flats once in a while to give your legs a break.

When wearing high heels, your calf muscles are not able to act like a pump to have the blood actively flow in the veins, leading to engorgement.

FORGETTING TO EXFOLIATE AND MOISTURISE LEGS

If you neglect your legs, this can cause your veins and muscles to get lazy.

When you moisturise and regularly exfoliate your legs, you are massaging them and improving your blood circulation.

NOT BUILDING AND MAINTAINING MUSCLE

If you have not been out for a walk or jog lately, it may be time to up your exercise game.

When you start to lose leg muscle mass, gaps in the muscle open up and allow veins to dilate, which cause varicose veins to appear.

SITTING ALL DAY AT DESK

When we sit for too long, gravity can cause blood to pool in our legs. Without the help of muscle contractions to pump that blood back upwards, varicose veins can form.

SHAVING TOO QUICKLY

You should not rush your shaving routine, especially if you are in the habit of nicking your skin.

If you get lots of cuts, this will disrupt your blood circulation in the leg area and will put pressure on the veins to deal with the problem.

HAVING AN EXTRA SALTY DIET

Having a lot of salt in your diet can factor into the development of varicose veins - it causes water retention and increases pressure on the vessels.

Keep savoury snacks to a minimum and drink plenty of water.

STANDING FOR LONG PERIODS

If your job involves a lot of standing - such as being a sales assistant, cashier or teacher - this static standing is linked to the development of varicose veins.

Try to walk around more often or take sitting breaks whenever possible.

SMOKING

In case you need one more reason to quit smoking, go ahead and add varicose veins to the list.

Smoking can increase your chances of developing them, so it is in your best interest to give it up.

HIGH-IMPACT RUNNING

Here is a reason to cut back some forms of exercise - high-impact running, for one, can cause repetitive injury to the vein valves in the legs, causing them to leak, which over time causes varicose veins to develop.

This article is adapted from The Singapore Women's Weekly, the go-to magazine for the latest news and information in areas that matter most to the professional working woman. Visit www.WomensWeekly.com.sg for more.

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