Today I want to talk about something slightly different. Varicose veins! Ewwwwuuuuuu you might think! And this is what I think as well!
I personally have notice my first varicose vein which is about a centimetre long when I was a teen. It was a hardly noticeable blue vein. My mother said it was genetically inevitable in our family and that I had to just get over myself and deal with it. As much I hate cellulite, I think varicose veins is the second most hatred ageing sign.
Did you know that varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin?!
I have always wondered why the heck would I get those blue threads under my skin especially with the amount of exercise my legs receive. Funny enough as soon as I took a long break from fitness (longer than I would usually take), I found several and much longer (in size) varicose veins. They are creeping up to me! O.M.G. Do not forget that every time you take a break from being active you also slowly getting older which contributes into the weakening process of veins.
Varicose veins are basically weakened valves in our legs. One-way valve pumps the blood from our legs to the heart (I was actually always wondering how that happens since the gravity bring everything down 🙂 )
When there is a disruption in the blood transportation process, blood collects, and pressure builds up in our legs. The veins become weak, large, and twisted. I always believed that if you exercise hard enough those ugly veins would step away! Now I decided to actually find out how much my believe is, in fact reality.
Although most of times varicose veins do not cause major health issues, sometimes they might be really bad in certain worse cases (we are not covering today). Personally, I just hate the look of them. Apparently there are couple of types of veins in our legs. So watch out for:
- the superficial veins which lie closest to your skin. The deep veins lead to the vena cava which is one of the largest veins. It runs directly to the heart.
- the deep veins which lie in groups of muscles and perforating veins, which connect the superficial veins to the deep veins.
Obviously, when we are in the upright position, blood needs to work against gravity to arrive to the heart. Guess what? Muscles squeeze the deep veins of our legs and feet. That is when our leg muscles contract, the valves inside our veins open. When we relax legs, the valves close. This prevents blood from flowing in reverse, back down the legs. So this back and forward trip of the blood is knows as venous pump.
Therefore when we walk / run or exercise; legs muscles squeeze and the blood travels well. This is not the case when we stop being active. Veins often stretch if we sit for a long period of time which can sometimes weaken the walls of our veins and damage our vein valves. Happy birthday, varicose veins! 😦
Little spider veins is the beginning of a potential worse case. And here I am finding more and more spider veins on my thighs.
Although it is just aesthetically ugly to have varicose veins, sometimes they can be health threatening. Heavy, tired, itchy and sore legs are often the one suffering from varicose veins expansion.
What to do? Well, one of the most common treatment is compassion tights and sock. Let’s be realistic, I, for example live in the country where most of the time it is very hot and I prefer to wear as little clothes as possible. Additionally, I even cannot bear skins for too long. It just feels uncomfortable. The are couple of other options such as sclerotherapy,vein stripping, ablation and laser treatment. Sounds scary doesn’t it. Well, I conducted a small research:
Sclerotherapy is basically an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. Vein stripping is a surgical intervention which physically removes the irritating veins. Finally, ablation and laser treatment is a minimally I invasive that uses radio frequency laser energy to cauterize and close abnormally enlarged veins in the legs.
As a result, obviously exercise prevents varicose veins from appearing! Ageing, pregnancy and obesity especially together with not active enough life style guarantees varicose veins for most people. Well, I guess here is another reason to train harder 🙂 obviously my theory was correct – the more we move the less ugly veins we see. However sometimes it is a slightly different case, for example varicose veins on the face… we cannot exercise our noses to prevent such unpleasant appearance. well, this is a story for another day!