Anxiety can impact your health negatively in many ways, including your vein health.
We all get nervous or anxious at times. Usually, these feelings are a response to a temporary situation, such as a job interview or taking a test. Once the stressor is over, we feel much calmer.
However, feeling constant stress or anxiety can harm your emotional and physical well-being, including your veins! Anxiety directly impacts your vascular health and could worsen your painful varicose veins symptoms.
The connection between varicose veins and anxiety
Anxiety does not cause varicose veins; however, if you already suffer from varicose veins, the increased blood pressure from stress may heighten your symptoms of pain and swelling. Varicose veins develop when faulty valves in the leg veins fail to pump blood upward to the heart, causing blood to backflow and pool in the veins. As pressure mounts within the vein walls, circulation slows, and your varicose veins may swell and hurt even more.
Anxiety affects your veins in other ways as well. When you feel anxious, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. The increase in cortisol raises your blood sugar levels, which can cause you to crave food. Constant anxiety keeps cortisol levels high, which can cause you to seek foods rich in fat and sodium. Overeating easily leads to weight gain, which further strains your veins. As your veins struggle with the added stress, your varicose veins symptoms worsen.
How to lower your anxiety — and help your veins
A therapist or counselor can help you lower your anxiety if you feel that it’s interfering with your daily life. Practicing some self-care methods may also reduce your stress and anxiety. Luckily, these stress-busting tips also benefit your vein health.
Exercise. Exercise is a proven stress reducer. You don’t have to work out in a gym for an hour or run a marathon to get its benefits. A brisk 30-minute walk daily will strengthen your calf muscles, which support blood flow in the legs. Plus, walking (and some fresh air) will relax your mind.
Eat Right. Skip fatty, salty prepared foods. Prepare your meals with fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and other foods that can lower your stress hormones. These include whole-grain bread, cereals, pasta, yogurt, avocados, and bananas.
Get Enough Sleep. Although it’s normal to have trouble sleeping after a stressful day, persistent sleeplessness damages your physical and psychological health. If you wake up feeling anxious, you may have spent the night tossing and turning. Consider including a good “sleep hygiene” routine in your nightly ritual, such as turning off electronics, practicing meditation and other relaxation techniques, and following a consistent sleep schedule to help get your proper rest.
Learn to manage your stress. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness techniques reduce stress and anxiety to help you feel more relaxed. Leave your worries at the office, and spend time doing things you enjoy with your family and friends in your off-hours.
When you lower your stress and anxiety, you may notice your varicose veins are less painful. To eliminate varicose veins, you can explore one of several minimally invasive treatment options. But don’t stress about these office-based procedures! These techniques have been used for years to treat varicose veins successfully, require little to no anesthesia, and allow for a speedy recovery so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
Visit our vein facility in Framingham
Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) offers a full-service vein care facility for residents in Framingham, Massachusetts, led by Pamela Kim, MD, RPVI. Dr. Kim is a board-certified vascular surgeon with additional certification in General Surgery and Vascular Interpretation. She is also a member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, American Venous Forum, and Society for Vascular Surgery. With her extensive knowledge and experience, Dr. Kim provides state-of-art therapies to treat varicose veins and other vascular disorders. Contact Dr. Kim to learn more about your treatment options or schedule your consultation appointment online today!
463 Worcester Road, Suite 205
Framingham, MA 01701