It’s fairly common knowledge that smoking, poor diet, and inactivity can lead to the development of varicose veins. However, many people don’t know that alcohol use can also have major effects on existing varicose veins as well.
Drinking, especially excessive drinking, affects every major organ in the body, and the circulatory system is no exception to this, particularly when the circulatory system has already been compromised by a vein disease.
Drinking doesn’t directly cause varicose veins to develop, but it can make a preexisting problem or condition much worse. If you suffer from varicose veins, you should take the following information into account; it will allow you to drink responsibly and avoid worsening issues with your circulatory system.
How Alcohol Affects the Circulatory System
Excessive drinking has long-lasting effects on the heart, and the circulatory system as a whole. It can cause an irregular heartbeat, blood pressure can skyrocket, it can increase risk of a stroke or heart attack, and even lead to heart failure.
With damage from alcohol, the circulatory system will find it difficult to pump blood through the entire body, heightening the chance of heart disease. This is a particular problem for women, who are more susceptible to heart disease already.
Drinking alcohol actually increases your heart rate, which causes the blood to pump through your veins much faster. This places additional stress on your veins—particularly, on the veins in your legs.
Alcohol also stresses the liver, preventing the liver from properly filtering alcohol from the blood, which results in a thickening of the blood, which makes it harder for the heart to push blood through already-strained veins.
How Alcohol Affects Varicose Veins
All of the above side effects of excessive drinking play a huge part in stressing already compromised varicose veins. While the heart is pumping blood through the body faster, the valves in the veins and the capacity of the veins don’t increase to match the additional blood flow.
Because the veins in your legs already have to work harder to contend with gravity, more and more stress is placed on the veins in your lower extremities. This can intensify pooling and swelling in varicose veins.
When blood isn’t filtered properly by the liver it thickens and becomes more viscous, placing even more pressure on veins that are already inflamed and weakened by vein disease, worsening the already uncomfortable effects of varicose veins.
With all of these side effects happening at once, veins swell and protrude outward even more significantly than before, making varicose veins even more prominent. This causes more pain and discomfort, and worsens both the appearance and overall side effects of varicose veins.
Alcohol and Varicose Veins
There is no significant evidence that shows that a drinking problem causes varicose veins, but there is plenty of evidence to show that drinking in excess worsens the already painful symptoms of existing varicose veins. If you already have varicose veins, or even just a predisposition to varicose veins, is it important to keep drinking to a minimum to prevent further exacerbation of vein disease.
Are you concerned that your drinking is affecting your varicose veins? We at Johnson Memorial Health are here to help. Contact us today for more information, and for guidance on how you can achieve your healthiest circulatory system possible.
Want to schedule a free vein reflux screening to see how your valves are functioning? Let an ultrasound tech show you how your blood flows through your legs. Schedule an appointment, and plan to see us today to learn how your circulatory system is working for you.