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Lifestyle Changes

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins eventually will affect a substantial proportion of adults in North America. Genetics, age, obesity, previous pregnancies, and prolonged sitting or standing some causes of venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Modifications in lifestyle may slow down the progressive changes associated with chronic venous insufficiency.

Avoidance of obesity or reduction of obesity probably is the most important lifestyle activity for most Americans who wish to slow down development of vein reflux disease. Avoidance of prolonged sitting or standing, when feasible, is helpful.

Frequent walking, even for a short distance, causes the calf muscles to pump venous blood out of the legs and relieves the pressure in the veins of the legs. Calf muscle pump exercises involving repetitive contraction of the muscles in the back of the calf will also pump venous blood out of the legs. Periodic elevation of the legs higher than the heart will allow partial recovery of the legs after prolonged sitting or standing.