People usually associate unhealthy eating and smoking with varicose veins, but alcohol’s effect on vein health is just as noteworthy. 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, as their 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 intensifying symptoms and resulting in further damage.
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 saying, “what goes around comes around” — and the damage inflicted upon your circulatory system will eventually end up affecting vein health, one way or another. Alcohol can increase your heart rate, causing it to pump more blood more quickly. The sudden influx of blood places greater stress on your veins, especially the lower extremities. As the alcohol strains your veins, it also occupies your liver, which the liver filters and detoxifies blood. Without the liver’s assistance, your blood greatly thickens, causing the veins to further protrude.
How Drinking Affects Varicose Veins
All of these complications can aggravate 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 pool 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 bulging.
Drink Responsibly For Vein Health
While alcohol can worsen the symptoms of varicose veins, there’s no evidence to suggest that drinking directly causes them. It is true, however, that patients with varicose veins or a predisposition towards them should refrain from drinking as much as possible to lessen symptoms. If you are concerned that drinking might be affecting your varicose veins, schedule a free vein screening with Dr. Johnson today to discuss your condition and possible varicose vein treatments. Let us help you!