What you need to know about stress and varicose veins


Stress – most of us live with it daily.

While some of us experience higher levels of stress than others, we all know that stress negatively impacts our physical and emotional health.

Although stress does not cause the development of varicose veins, stress can exacerbate an underlying problem and amplify the symptoms of varicose veins.

When we become stressed, our blood pressure rises. When blood pressure remains elevated, either consistently or chronically, our blood vessels weaken. This inhibits circulation, causing blood to pool in the veins. This pooling can result in varicose veins.

It is no secret that stress is linked to weight gain. But did you know that being overweight is one of the leading factors that causes varicose veins?

Many people find it difficult to stick to a diet and to make healthy food choices when they are stressed. Mindless eating and overeating often lead to weight gain. Being overweight creates the perfect environment for developing varicose veins, and obesity can worsen varicose veins among those already diagnosed with the disease.

What we eat affects our weight, mood, and venous system. Daily eating plans always should include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry and whole grains.

Overeating is a common side effect of stress. A favorite tip for eating healthy is to prepare enough healthy food for at least a couple of days at a time. For quick snacks, keep cut vegetables, fruit and cheese in the refrigerator. Stay away from fast food. Watch your sodium intake. Drink plenty of water.

The stress hormone cortisol is a factor in weight gain too. Ongoing stress means cortisol levels remain high. Cortisol increases blood sugar so there is more energy to deal with stressful situations. Because our bodies are in a constant state of stress, cortisol does not have a chance to drop, which leads to a feeling of hunger and a need to refuel with food.

Being stressed can keep people from exercising regularly rather than motivating them to exercise. However, choosing to be sedentary is not a good choice when it comes to vein health.

Sticking to – or developing – healthy eating habits and regular exercise are important lifestyle choices for everyone but especially for someone who wants to prevent or manage varicose veins.

Spending just 30 minutes a day walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or participating in any other low impact aerobic exercise will make benefit your venous health picture.

Varicose veins and other vein disease symptoms occur when there is a weakening of your vein’s valves. Weak valves do not circulate blood properly, resulting in the pooling of blood. These pools of blood lead to the development of varicose veins.

Contemporary treatments seal off malfunctioning veins in order to allow healthier, stronger veins to take over naturally. Your vein specialist can discuss this outpatient procedure with you and determine your options and outcomes.

San Diego Vein Institute is dedicated to helping those suffering with varicose veins to optimize their venous health. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit