Workplace wellness is a common theme in today’s organizations – recognizing the important role health plays in our work and home environments. While many of us are taking steps to improve our health at work, one area often overlooked is vein health. While vein health is not a term we commonly hear about, many people in the workforce experience symptoms associated with unhealthy veins on a daily basis, including heavy, painful, or swollen legs, and/or the appearance of varicose and spider veins.
What is a “Healthy Vein”?
Healthy veins are important to our blood circulatory system – while arteries deliver blood from the heart to various tissues throughout our body, veins deliver blood flow back to the heart, sometimes against gravity. Unhealthy veins disrupt this process.
Often referred to as chronic venous disease, this progressive condition is characterized by the process in which vein walls and/or valves become dilated and stop working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. Blood begins to pool and the veins become further damaged.
While there are many factors that can lead to the development of chronic venous disease, such as gender (yup, females are almost twice as likely to develop the condition!), genetics, obesity and lifestyle, occupation can also play a huge role.
In fact, workers who spend long periods standing, such as nurses, teachers or baristas, or those who spend extended periods sitting, like accountants, administrative assistants and coders, are all at an increased risk for developing chronic venous disease.
So what is the connection? Calves are often referred to as “blood pumps.” This is because when they contract and then relax, they help to mechanically pump the blood out of the legs and back to the heart. When sitting down for long periods, the calves almost never contract, when standing, the opposite occurs, and the calves are always contracted. In these conditions, the calves can no longer act like a pump, which can contribute to a weaker, disrupted blood flow. All of this feeding into the pooling of blood, which damage to the veins, which in turn increases pooling; a vicious cycle that can cause chronic venous disease to progress.
What Can I Do?
If you work in a profession that requires a lot of standing or sitting, here are three ways you can help keep your veins healthier on the Job.
- Mix it up – If you’re standing, try to shift your position as often as possible. If you are sitting, try to get up and walk around every 30 minutes.
- Pump it up – You may have heard about foot pumps for preventing deep-vein thrombosis on long- haul flights, but this simple exercise is helpful at any time to help get the blood moving. Simply place your foot on the ground and raise your toes, keeping the heel of your foot touching, and lower down. Repeat several times on each side.
- Prop it up – Give your legs a break from all that gravity. Try propping them up while sitting at your desk or raising them above your heart while lying down. Either way this can increase blood flow back up towards your heart to get the replenishing it needs!
For long-term symptom management, non-prescription natural health product like Venixxa can improve overall vein health and help alleviate the symptoms of chronic venous disease like heavy, painful and swollen legs.