The Link Between Stress and Varicose Veins

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Anxiety and tension can wreak havoc inside your mind and body. If left untreated, stress can quickly transform a healthy and hearty person into someone suffering from mental, physical, and emotional health problems. One of these crucial physical issues can manifest itself in the form of varicose veins.

Americans are feeling more stressed than ever. In fact, a recent study found that 75% of adults report experiencing high levels of stress and that their stress has gotten worse over the last year.

While stress doesn’t directly cause varicose veins, it can promote habits that worsen vein symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your stress under control.

Here are some of the negative effects that stress can have on your veins

  • Increased blood pressure. When stressed, your body releases hormones that increase your blood pressure. This can strain your veins, making them more likely to bulge and become varicose.
  • Weight gain. Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits, contributing to weight gain. Excess weight puts extra pressure on your veins, making varicose veins worse.
  • Reduced exercise. When you’re stressed, you may be less likely to exercise. Exercise is important for keeping your veins healthy, so a lack of exercise can contribute to varicose veins.
  • Poor sleep. Stress can also lead to poor sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can damage your veins, making them more likely to become varicose.

In addition to these factors, stress can make varicose veins more noticeable and uncomfortable. If you have varicose veins, stress can make you feel heavier, more painful, and more unsightly.

If you’re concerned about varicose veins,  talk to a vein specialist. They can help you manage your stress and recommend treatments for varicose veins.


    Do you wear pants or skirts to cover your bulging, discolored veins?


    Is your sleep interrupted by restless legs or discomfort?


    Have you experienced itching or burning?


    Have your feet become too swollen to wear your boots or shoes comfortably?


    Do you avoid activities that involve standing for long periods of time?


    Tell us a little bit about yourself and we can help find the best treatment option for you.

    Can Stress Cause Circulation Issues?

    The biggest dilemma that a combination of stress and vein health brings along is poor circulation. Stress causes your blood pressure to rise, thus increasing the pressure on your veins. And, if your stress is not short-term but rather ongoing, then you are not giving your veins a chance to alleviate that stress.

    The pressure only continues to build the more stress that you have. You find your veins struggling more and more to pump the blood back up to your heart properly, and this will show itself in the form of pooling blood, a.k.a. varicose veins.

    As the obstruction of blood flow continues, your legs become increasingly swollen, leaving you to endure a great deal of pain and some nasty-looking veins.

    Discover these effective ways to improve your circulation.

    Stress Hormones 

    Cortisol, a stress hormone, increases blood sugar levels to give you energy to deal with stressful situations. It’s helpful for short-term stress,  such as getting you through a big work presentation.

    In the short term, this is no problem — you do need to replace the energy you’ve burned. However, if your stress is ongoing, your cortisol levels stay high, and your body constantly tells you that it needs food. This is what causes weight gain. And being overweight is one of the leading factors causing varicose veins.

    Weight Gain Impacts Vein Health

    The extra weight puts pressure on your veins, damaging and weakening them further. This often leads to varicose veins. People who are overweight may have difficulty seeing their swollen and damaged veins due to the excess fat. They typically discover the development of varicose veins when the symptoms start to affect the skin.  Additionally, the depth of the veins in obese people can make it difficult for vein doctors to access and repair them.

    Laser treatments that are typically a simple procedure for your average person become very difficult for someone who is obese.

    Tips to alleviate stress in your life

    Tips to reduce stress

    1. Don’t Let Work Consume Your Life

    Though your job is important, it does not need to rule your entire life. Many people struggle with the stress that work causes them, making it a very important part of their life to keep under control. One of the ways you can do this is to, as much as possible, leave your work at work. Don’t take it home with you. It is important that you use your time at home to relax and unwind and give your stress levels a chance to go down.

    2. Exercise Daily

    You don’t need to spend 2 hours at the gym or train for a marathon, but finding a way to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily life will massively improve your stress, and, thus, your vein health.

    We know exercise is an effective way to manage and reduce stress. Explore our collection of exercise topics.

    3. Make Better Food Choices

    FoodWhen  you are stressed, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy convenience foods. But eating healthy meals can help you manage stress and improve your overall health.

    One way to ensure you eat healthy meals is to prepare your own food. This doesn’t mean you have to cook every meal from scratch. You can prep simple meals that can be easily reheated on busy nights.


    4. Why Treatment May Be Better Than Lifestyle Changes

    Lifestyle changes can help to improve the appearance of varicose veins and reduce the risk of complications. However, they are not always effective in treating varicose veins. In some cases, varicose veins may progress even with lifestyle changes. 

    Treatment for varicose veins, on the other hand, can be more effective in reducing the appearance of varicose veins and preventing complications. Many treatment options are available at USA Vein Clinics, and our vein experts can help you choose the one that is right for you. 

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    Concerned about your vein health?


    Medically Reviewed By:

    Yan Katsnelson 2 M drive 1 1

    Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.

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