If you work an office job, you probably know about the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
In an effort to minimize problems, you may opt for a standing desk. However, both sitting and standing for long periods of time can affect your legs, potentially leading to vein problems. One possible consequence is varicose veins, characterized as bulging blue or dark purple veins.
Prolonged Sitting and Varicose Veins
According to Statistics Canada, Canadian adults spend about 10 of their waking hours sedentary, on average. This number is even higher for females.
Although it may seem normal to sit this long—especially if your job requires it—it’s actually contradictory to how humans historically lived. Before modern technology, humans were almost always moving, whether it was walking, hunting or picking berries. As we’ve settled into our chairs, research has shown that it can cause poor circulation. That can lead to a whole host of issues, including ankle swelling, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins.
Prolonged Standing and Varicose Veins
Unfortunately, switching to a standing desk means you’re still inactive; you’re just standing in an upright position instead. According to a 2015 review of research, there’s enough evidence to suggest that prolonged standing at work can lead to venous diseases, such as varicose veins.
The veins in your legs need to keep the blood flowing up to your heart. The problem is that it becomes more difficult when you stand for periods of time. Instead, the blood can pool inside the veins, causing them to swell and creating a bulging appearance.
With that being said, not everyone who works a sedentary job will develop varicose veins. Other factors can put a person more at risk:
- Family history— If a family member has varicose veins, you’re at an increased risk.
- Age— As people age, blood flow regulation issues become more likely.
- Sex— Women are more likely to develop varicose veins. This may be attributed to hormonal changes, but as we mentioned, women also tend to have more sedentary lifestyles than men.
- Weight— Extra weight can put extra pressure on the veins, restricting blood flow.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins While Working a Sedentary Job
You may decrease your risk of or minimize the appearance of varicose veins with these tips:
- Switch between sitting and standing while working. If you use a standing desk, take frequent sitting breaks and vice versa.
- Take walking breaks, even if it’s just a stroll around the office.
- Consider wearing compression socks during the workday.
- Elevate your legs when you get home (i.e. putting your feet up on the coffee table, etc.).
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle to maintain or achieve a healthy weight (getting frequent exercise and eating a balanced diet).
Since there’s no way to guarantee prevention, despite your best efforts, you may still develop varicose veins. If they’re becoming painful or you’re concerned about their appearance, you should see a specialist at Canada Vein Clinics. Depending on the severity, medical interventions could include sclerotherapy, laser treatment, catheter-assisted procedures, surgery and more.