Stress is something that American adults are feeling more than ever. In fact, according to studies, 75% of adults say they’re experienced high levels for stress recently, and also that their stress has gotten worse over the last year.
Stress is no small thing. If left untreated, stress will turn a healthy person into an unhealthy one, and leave them suffering from mental, physical, and emotional health problems. And one of those physical problems can manifest itself as varicose veins.
Though stress does not cause varicose veins per se, it certainly promotes habits that will make your vein symptoms worse. That, among many other reasons, is why keeping your stress at bay is so crucial. Read on to find out some of the negative effects that stress can have on your veins.
The effect stress has on your veins
Can stress cause circulation issues?
One of the biggest problems you will face with stress and vein health is 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 properly pump the blood back up to your heart, 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 pretty nasty-looking veins.
One of the stress hormones that we all carry in our bodies is called cortisol. The purpose of this hormone is to increase your blood sugar levels to help you in having more energy to deal with stressful situations.
Though cortisol can be helpful when it comes to smaller, short-term stress issues such as getting you through a big work presentation, it is really bad when your life is so stressful on a regular basis that your cortisol levels do not have a chance to drop. When cortisol is on duty, it signals to your body that your energy levels have been depleted and you need to refuel with food.
In the short term, this is no problem — you really do need to replace the energy you’ve burned. However, if your stress is on-going, that means your cortisol levels are staying high, and your body is constantly telling you that it needs food. This is what causes weight gain. And being overweight is one of the leading factors causing varicose veins.
The pressure that extra weight puts on your veins is problematic. The damaged veins will weaken even further under the additional pressure, and most often take form as varicose veins. If your weight gain is so severe that you become obese, that presents a new set of problems.
People who are obese struggle to see their veins are swollen and damaged because they have so much excess fat. The way obese people typically discover varicose veins is when the issue begins to affect their skin. The other problem with obesity and varicose veins is that the depth of the veins in someone who is this overweight makes it a struggle for the vein doctor to get in and repair the damaged veins.
With all the extra fat sitting in an obese person’s legs, laser treatments that are typically a simple procedure for your average person become very difficult for someone who is obese.
May halt the progress you’ve made to improve your vein health
Stress has a seemingly endless number of negative effects on your body, but one of the major ones is that it halts any progress you’re making in terms of a treatment plan with your vein issues. As mentioned above, stress can cause you to eat more than usual, which makes it more likely you won’t stick to the diet required in order to alleviate the pressure on your veins.
In addition, stress tends to keep people from exercising regularly, which is something that is important when you are faced with varicose veins. Remaining sedentary for too long is one of the worst things you can do for your vein health. Whether that means you’re sitting for hours on end or standing, you are putting pressure on your veins that they just can’t handle.
While we don’t suggest running a marathon if you have varicose veins, we do suggest that you opt for a low-impact exercise such as walking. Walking helps to strengthen your calf muscles, which boasts great benefits for your circulation, and thus, your veins.
Tips to alleviate stress in your life
The above are just a few of the problems that stress can cause in your life. Stress is a major problem for a massive part of the population and is something that is absolutely crucial to get under control. Read on for some ways you can work to battle stress to will keep you and your veins happy and healthy.
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 your 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.
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.
Prepare your own meals
If you have a busy work life or life otherwise, prepping your food for the week is a great way to battle the over-eating issues that typically arise when stress levels are high.
Rather than going through the drive-thru after a crazy day at work, spend one day prepping enough food for the week that you just have to come home and warm something up. You’ll get the nutrients you need without the effort, on the nights you really need it most.
Instead of waiting until your vein health becomes a major problem, get your stress under control today so that you don’t add more stress to your life.
We know that exercise is an effective way to manage and reduce stress levels. Explore our collection of exercise topics.
Medically Reviewed By:
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.