There are a number of factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing varicose veins, such as family history, gender and age. One factor, however, cuts across all types of groups: your occupation. If your job involves prolonged sitting or standing, you may be more susceptible to developing the vein problems that can lead to varicose veins.
Veins in your legs that return blood to the heart use one-way valves that keep blood from pooling as it moves against gravity. Calf muscles help this process as they contract when your legs and feet are in motion. When you’re in an occupation that doesn’t allow for much movement for hours at a time, the veins’ valves can become weakened and varicose veins can develop.
If you have a job in one of the following categories, you’ll want to pay special attention to your vascular health:
Healthcare professionals: Nurses, doctors, medical technicians and medical assistants may be on their feet during long shifts at work, while lab technicians or billing coders may sit all day.
Office or computer work: Administrators, technology personnel, executives, customer service representatives, or others whose work is performed on a computer or on the phone while sitting at a desk may not move at all for hours at a stretch, particularly when absorbed by a complex task.
Cosmetology: Hairstylists, barbers, massage therapists and others who provide personal services may unconsciously revert to the same standing position throughout the day.
Commercial driving: If it’s your job to drive a bus, cab or truck, there’s only one way to do it — sitting down. Commercial truck drivers are limited by law to the number of hours they can drive at a time, but that number is a relatively high 11 hours.
Retail: Depending upon the specific job, some salespeople may be able to move about during the day, but most cashiers are standing at their registers for long periods of time.
Teaching: Teachers, professors and instructors may spend much of their days on their feet in the classroom or lab.
Manufacturing: Factory workers’ jobs can be highly specialized, so they may perform a single task, standing or sitting in one position, for their entire shifts.
Hospitality: Some people in the hospitality industry, such as restaurant servers, do put in a lot of miles as they work, but chefs, dishwashers and others in the kitchen may not.
Although a cashier can’t leave his register unattended and a bus driver can’t pull over anytime she’d like to take a stroll, there are ways to help reduce your risk of varicose veins:
Visibly enlarged veins are the most obvious sign of varicose veins, but there are other symptoms of venous issues in the legs, such as feelings of heaviness or restlessness; pain or aching; swelling; and skin changes, including darkening of the skin or itchy rashes.
If your work requires you to stand or sit for extended periods of time or you have some of the symptoms of varicose veins, our vascular experts can help. For a personal consultation, please contact us to request an appointment.