More than 50% of the United States population suffers from varicose veins. Although varicose veins occur for many reasons, many patients often do not realize how alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, can lead to a worsening of already present vein issues. Varicose veins can also be common indicators of other severe underlying health conditions.
For many adults, alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation. However, excessive drinking can lead to damage in nearly every major organ within the human body. Alcohol can be particularly harmful to those with varicose veins or other chronic pain insufficiency, or those who circulatory systems are already compromised.
Is alcohol consumption contributing to your varicose veins?
How Drinking Affects Your Circulatory System
Alcohol may not have a direct effect on varicose veins; however, it does have a significant impact on your circulatory system. When it comes to the health of your veins, 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 affect the health of your veins.
Alcohol increases your heart rate, causing it to pump more blood at a quicker pace. This sudden influx of blood creates a more significant stress on your veins, especially in your lower extremities. As the alcohol flows through your veins, it also begins to occupy your liver. Without the liver’s assistance, your blood thickens, causing veins to further descend due to a decrease in proper filtration and detoxification of the blood.
Indications of Excessive Drinking
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines the following as excessive alcohol consumption:
Binge Drinking: Binge drinking occurs by having enough drinks to reach a 0.08 g/dL blood alcohol concentration within a single sitting. This is typically five drinks for men and four drinks for women.
Heavy Drinking: Within the past 30 days, heavy drinking describes having five or more drinks in a single sitting for five or more days.
Alcohol and Existing Varicose Veins
Because of how alcohol affects the liver, these complications can increase the already present symptoms of varicose veins. Alcohol stimulates blood flow, leaving veins with venous valves to suffer. These faulty valves are more likely to generate back flow, allowing blood to accumulate in the veins. Since the blood is thicker while under the consumption of alcohol, it places higher pressure on the already inflamed veins, which continues to weaken the muscles supporting them. Veins will continue to protrude outward, causing more considerable discomfort and also making them more prominent.
It is critical to understand that drinking alcohol alone will not automatically result in varicose veins. If a person is predisposed to develop the condition, varicose veins will appear regardless of whether the person drinks alcohol regularly or not. That being said, alcohol does make it more likely that varicose veins will develop in a person over time. Regular alcohol consumption enhances the impact of other problems as well.
Other Health-Related Risks From Alcohol
Excessive drinking can quickly lead to other health-related risks. Over time, long-term use of excessive alcohol can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious health ailments, including the following :
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Weight gain
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon
- A weakening of the immune system
- Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety
- Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism
If You Do Consume Alcohol, Drink Responsibly
You have now learned that alcohol can aggravate the symptoms of varicose veins; however, there is no direct evidence to suggest that drinking alcohol causes them to form in the first place. Patients with already existing varicose veins or a predisposition towards them developing should refrain from drinking in excess as much as possible.
If you are concerned that drinking alcohol may be affecting your varicose veins, schedule an appointment with a qualified vein specialist at Hinsdale Vein & Laser today. We can assist in determining the cause of your varicose veins, and we will work with you to create a customized treatment plan.