Hey Nurses, You Need Vein Care Too!
Nurses are constantly on their feet for long periods of time, tending to others and often forgetting to take care of themselves (and their veins).
Nursing is a noble profession, one that involves being on the front lines to help others. Unfortunately, many nurses neglect their own well-being while concentrating on treating their patients. Often, that can result in negative consequences for their veins.
Nurses routinely work 12-hour shifts, which means long hours spent standing as they tend to patients or sitting at a desk while filling out reports. All of this puts them at higher risk of vein disease. In fact, nursing is one of the top five occupations that carry high chances of developing varicose veins. However, nurses can avoid painful, swollen veins by remembering first to take care of their own health.
Nursing and Varicose Veins
Within the leg veins, tiny valves responsible for returning deoxygenated blood to the heart already struggle against blood flow gravity. Prolonged periods of standing or sitting increase the pressure on these valves: blood doesn’t circulate as well, and the valves become overwhelmed as vein walls are stretched to their limit. Blood then pools within the veins, leading to protruding and twisting varicose veins on the legs and feet. Sometimes, varicose veins may not even be visible, but you may still feel pain, cramping, and heaviness in your legs.
Varicose veins or spider veins are more than just a cosmetic problem. If left untreated, varicose veins can be debilitating and interfere with your ability to do your job. Varicose veins may also lead to blood clots and slow-healing sores. Often, varicose veins hint at a serious underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
Although women are at higher risk of varicose veins due to the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy and menopause, men are nearly equally prone to the condition. This is especially true if they work in a profession like nursing that elevates their risk. A 2012 study of 1,456 Edinburgh residents found varicose veins showed in 17.4 percent of women. However, men weren’t far behind at 15.2 percent.
Although the chance of developing varicose veins increases with age, younger people have also been known to exhibit bulging veins. In addition to your job, your family history also factors into your varicose vein risk equation.
What Nurses Can Do to Prevent Varicose Veins
As a nurse, there are several things you can do either while at work or in the comfort of your home to help prevent varicose veins or reduce the symptoms.
Wear Compression Stockings
Just as you pick out a comfortable pair of shoes, make compression stockings a part of your work wardrobe. Made of snug elastic, compression stockings gently squeeze the leg veins, helping propel the blood, so it doesn’t pool in the veins. Compression stockings come in several styles and strengths. A vein specialist can recommend which is best for you.
Elevate Your Legs
After a long shift, give yourself a needed break and elevate your legs above your heart. Do this for at least 30 minutes, allowing your blood to flow to your heart.
Flex Your Ankles
To encourage blood flow, something as simple as flexing your ankle regularly helps. When you sit down to write your patient reports, pump your ankles up and down to move blood along your legs.
Exercise and Eat Right
Whenever possible, take a walk or bike ride. Not only will it be relaxing, but you'll also engage your calf muscles, which supports good circulation in the leg veins. Shedding extra pounds also helps reduce the pressure on your veins. Avoid fatty, sodium-rich foods; instead, plan your meals around fruits and vegetables and lean meats.
There is no reason to endure the pain of varicose veins when safe, simple, minimally invasive treatments are available today. These in-office procedures are quick and require little to no anesthesia. Recovery time is short, so you can get back to the profession you love in no time.
Let Us Take Care of Your Veins
Center for Vein Restoration has helped thousands of patients overcome the pain of vein disease. We offer state-of-the-art therapies for the treatment of varicose veins and other vascular disorders. Come see us for an evaluation.