Are Teachers at Increased Risk of Varicose Veins?
Teaching is a noble profession, but it can be stressful on your veins. Here’s why.
As fall approaches, many teachers are getting ready for the upcoming school year — but whether they’re back in the classroom or teaching online, they should be keeping their vein health in mind. Why? Because teaching is considered a high-risk profession for varicose veins.
Although varicose veins may be in your genes — if a close family member has them, you’re more likely to develop the condition — your lifestyle may also increase your risk of venous insufficiency, and that includes the job you do everyday. Teaching involves many hours standing in front of a classroom or webcam, which is why teachers are prone to swollen, painful leg veins.
Why Teachers Are at Risk of Varicose Veins
Blood circulates through our bodies with the help of arteries and veins. Thick-walled arteries push oxygenated blood down from the heart to our tissues. Veins then return deoxygenated blood to the heart, where it gets filled with oxygen again. Flaps inside the veins open so blood flows downward, but then close up and pump blood back to the heart. When those flaps or valves lose their strength, blood cannot move and instead builds up within the vein. This excess amount of blood causes the vein to enlarge and bulge out in the form a varicose vein.
Those valves work mightily against gravity to pump blood back to the heart. Standing for four or more hours a day or one hour without a break makes their job more difficult, leading to blood pooling in the veins and eventually the formation of varicose veins. Considering the amount of time teachers spend standing in front of their class, it’s not surprising teachers have an increased risk of developing varicose veins. The same is true for other professions that require prolonged periods of standing, such as nursing or working in a retail store or restaurant.
Fortunately, teachers can take measures to prevent varicose veins. As you begin a new school year, try these six tips to protect your vein health:
- Wear Flat Shoes. High heels force vein valves to work even harder against the pull of gravity. When in the classroom or in front of the camera, slip on a pair of flat, comfortable but supportive shoes and save the high heels for special occasions.
- Buy Compression Stockings. Available in drugstores or medical supply outlets, compression stockings provide an added layer of pressure on the veins that helps blood flow without collecting within the vein. Compression stockings come in various strengths, with the strongest available via prescription.
- Move When Possible. Even though teachers stand for much of the day, they can still maintain proper blood flow by moving as much as possible. Walk around the classroom or teach some lessons seated in front of your camera to lessen the stress on your leg veins.
- Control Your Weight. Every added pound adds that much more pressure on your veins. Maintaining a healthy weight with a low-fat, low-sodium diet and exercise controls your weight and reduces the strain on your veins.
- Put Your Feet Up. Elevating your feet above your heart counteracts the downward pressure of gravity and helps blood circulate towards the heart. And after a long day of teaching, you deserve some time to relax and put up your feet.
- Visit a Vein Specialist. Don’t let the discomfort of varicose veins stop you from doing the job you love. If you find the swelling, cramping, and pain of varicose veins are making your teaching job more and more arduous, it’s time to visit a vein specialist. Current varicose vein treatments are minimally invasive, nearly painless, and require only a brief recovery time, so you’ll be back in the classroom in no time at all.
Learn About Varicose Veins
The physicians and staff at Center for Vein Restoration are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins. We offer a variety of surgical and non-surgical therapies to treat venous insufficiency. Contact us today to learn more about varicose veins and how we can help you live a healthier, fuller life.