You Need to Know about Alcohol and Varicose Veins
- Posted on: Oct 15 2018
When we discuss how habits affect general health and wellness, we usually hear the words “smoking” and “eating.” These are, of course, two of the primary ways in which Americans tend to degrade their physical function. However, we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t expand beyond this point to also recognize the harm that alcohol consumption could be doing.
In most cases, moderate alcohol consumption, which translates into one glass of wine with dinner or a single nightcap, is not harmful. However, nearly every organ in the body is affected by consumption in excess that. This is important for every person to know, but especially those with varicose veins or venous insufficiency. Here’s why.
Drinking alcohol does not contribute to the development of varicose veins. It can, however, play a role in the worsening of venous insufficiency and the symptoms that go along with it. This is because alcohol affects the circulatory system.
How Alcohol Consumption Affects the Circulatory System
When a person consumes alcohol, their heart rate increases. An increased heart rate means more blood is being pumped through the heart muscle at a faster rate of speed. When this happens, the veins receive an influx of blood flow, which can stress them. If a vein is already weak, the increase can exacerbate the stress on vein walls. Furthermore, the liver has to work hard to process alcohol from the body. This takes resources from other functions, one of which is the regulation of blood thickness.
How Alcohol Consumption Affects Varicose Veins
The effects of alcohol on the circulatory system make their way to the veins relatively quickly. While blood flows faster and increases in thickness after a few drinks, the venous valves do not increase their function. The faulty valve that has trouble sending normal circulation through the vein will struggle even more in the presence of thick, fast-moving blood. Veins that are already inflamed are struck with more pressure, more stress, which causes exaggerated swelling and, in some cases, more pain.
Currently, alcohol consumption is not a recognized factor in the onset of varicose veins. However, people with venous insufficiency are encouraged to take extra care with alcohol consumption and pay close attention to how it affects their varicose vein symptoms.
Did you know you can obtain a Virtual Vein Screening from us? For more information or to schedule an in-office consultation, call (803) 253-8667.