Varicose veins are unsightly, sometimes-painful marks that are dark in color and protrude from the skin. They can affect many different people and become more likely with age. They’re not often dangerous, but for some people they can have a big impact on certain quality of life elements.
In particular, certain professions put people at a higher risk for varicose veins than normal people. Let’s go over the basic risk factors for varicose veins, which professions increase risk and what people in these professions can do to help avoid varicose vein issues.
Varicose Vein Risk Factors
As a refresher, here are the primary risk factors associated with varicose veins. We’ll bold a couple that can have a specific effect on certain occupations.
- Age: Risk goes up with age
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men
- Family history
- Obesity: Being overweight adds pressure to the veins, which can be exacerbated by certain professions (we’ll get to these in a moment)
- Standing or sitting for long periods: If you’re in the same position for long periods at a time, this increases varicose vein risk. This is the risk factor most directly connected to certain occupations
Due to the physical risk factors we discussed above, certain professions increase the risk of varicose veins simply through their basic movement requirements. These are occupations that generally involve lots of time on your feet, but in many cases, they don’t actually require much movement—rather stagnant standing.
Such professions include:
- Barbers and hairdressers: A barber or hairdresser spends virtually the entire day on their feet, but when you consider their actual movement, it’s easy to understand how blood pooling issues and varicose veins come about. Clients remain in a single place, and barbers will often spend several minutes standing in a one area. All this time on the feet builds up fatigue in the legs.
- Chefs, servers and bartenders: Several areas within food service can increase varicose vein risk. Chefs stand stagnantly in hot places for long periods while cooking food, and bartenders do much of the same without the heat. Servers have to walk around more, and that blood flow can be a major help, but many servers still don’t get enough exercise compared to stagnant time they spend on their feet.
- Nurses and health professionals: Again, there are some nurses and other health professionals who walk around often, and this is a relief in these cases. Some do remain relatively stagnant, though, and varicose vein risk increases.
- Teachers: Teachers often stand at the front of a classroom without moving much, or sit for long periods.
Tactics to Avoid Varicose Veins
People in these professions can take a few extra precautions to avoid varicose veins:
- Schedule regular breaks – walk around, stretch and vary your general leg positions to help with blood blow.
- Avoid aggravating factors, including smoking and poor nutrition.
- Perform regular leg checks for signs of bulging veins, and also beware of symptoms like leg fatigue, pain and swelling.
- Consider wearing compression socks throughout your shift. While there is no evidence that this will reduce your chance of varicose veins, it can certainly help your legs feel better during your shift.
Whether as a result of a profession or some other cause, if you are dealing with varicose veins, your doctor can offer treatment recommendations.
“Varicose Vein Symptoms and causes.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/dxc-20178128
“4 Common Professions That Put You at Higher Risk for Varicose Veins.” The Vein Institute. http://www.farewellveins.com/blog/2014/10/14/4-common-professions-put-higher-risk-varicose-veins/
“4 Professions at HIgh Risk for Varicose Veins.” Veincare.com.au. https://www.veincare.com.au/4-professions-high-risk-varicose-veins/