Drinking and Varicose Veins: What You Need to Know
While alcohol’s effect on vein health isn’t discussed as frequently as other bad habits like smoking and unhealthy eating, it can be just as significant.
While alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, excessive drinking can damage nearly every major organ. It can be particularly harmful to patients with varicose veins or other chronic venous insufficiencies, whose circulatory systems are already compromised by their conditions.
While drinking isn’t a direct cause of varicose veins, it can contribute significantly to their development, greatly exacerbating symptoms and resulting in further damage. As you continue to develop your treatment plan, we’ll offer you a short primer on alcohol’s effects on your varicose veins to help you drink more responsibly.
How Drinking Affects Your Circulatory System
While alcohol doesn’t directly affect varicose veins, it has a major impact on your circulatory system. When it comes to venous health, there’s a lot of truth to the old adage, “what goes around comes around” — and the damage inflicted upon your circulatory system will eventually end up affecting vein health, one way or another.
Consider that alcohol increases your heart rate, causing it to pump more blood more quickly. The sudden influx of blood places greater stress on your veins, especially in the lower extremities. As the alcohol strains your veins, it also occupies your liver, which otherwise filters and detoxifies blood. Without the liver’s assistance, your blood greatly thickens, causing the veins to further distend.
How Drinking Affects Varicose Veins
All of these complications can exacerbate the symptoms of varicose veins. While alcohol stimulates blood flow, it doesn’t initiate greater activity in the venous valves, which attempt to pump blood as they normally would. As a result, a faulty valve is even more likely to generate backflow, allowing blood to accumulate in the veins. Since the blood is thicker, it places greater pressure on the already inflamed veins, which soon weakens the muscles supporting them. With all of these burdens, the veins protrude outward significantly, causing greater pain and making them even more prominent.
Learning to Drink Responsibly
While alcohol can aggravate the symptoms of varicose veins, there’s no evidence to suggest that drinking causes them. It is true, however, that patients with varicose veins or a predisposition towards them should refrain from drinking as much as possible. If you’re concerned that drinking might be affecting your varicose veins, schedule an appointment with a qualified vein specialist today to discuss your condition and possible courses of treatment. If you’re struggling with drinking in general, contact a local treatment facility to find the help you need.