How to Prevent Varicose Veins
When you stand for long periods of time, you may feel your legs starting to become heavy or aching in the muscles in the lower leg. This happens from the immense blood pressure that builds on the leg veins. Eventually, blood may begin to pool inside the blood vessel which causes the bluish or purple bulging veins to appear on the leg muscles. These visible twisted veins are also known as varicose veins.
So what are the possible ways to manage and decrease chances of getting varicose veins? Having good vein health and proper blood circulation is important to reduce your risk of forming a varicose vein. You can do this by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, using compression socks, avoiding standing or being sedentary for a long time, and wearing comfortable clothing.
Ways to Keep Varicose Vein From Getting Worse
Varicose veins often appear as raised or bulging veins on the legs, back of the calves, and feet. Unlike spider veins, which are the small veins that form due to broken blood vessels on the skin’s surface and are usually painless, varicose veins can be more uncomfortable and come with symptoms such as leg cramps, swelling of feet and ankles, and dry or itchy skin on the affected vein.
Fortunately, it’s easy to relieve the pain symptom and prevent the appearance of varicose veins by making certain lifestyle changes. Here are some tips for effective varicose vein prevention:
1. Get regular exercise
Varicose veins in the legs may happen due to chronic venous insufficiency, which is a condition where the valves responsible for sending blood to the heart become weakened and causes the blood to accumulate in the legs. One way to stimulate better blood flow and ensure that these valves work properly is by exercising.
Keeping your body moving can stimulate the heart to pump more blood and ensure that the blood from your legs travels back up to the heart. Toning and stretching your leg muscles can improve blood circulation and lessen the likelihood of getting varicose veins. Some of the exercise routines that you can do are:
- Leg lifts - Lie down on your back with your legs on the floor. Slowly bring one leg up and hold it in the air for a few seconds to allow blood to flow from your feet to the hips. Bring your leg down and do the same action with the other leg.
- Standing calf raises - This helps build your calf muscle and prevents varicose veins. You can do this by simply standing on your tiptoes and holding the position for a few seconds.
- Bicycle legs - Lie on your back and raise your feet high. Bend the knees and start to pedal as if you’re riding a bicycle. It’s better if you have an actual bike so you can go cycling outdoors.
- Yoga - There are certain yoga poses that require stretching your legs and hamstrings such as downward dog, lunges, and sun salutations.
- Walking - Walking is a simple activity that you can do every day and it stimulates the vein valves to open and close normally.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Carrying extra pounds on your body can actually contribute to the pressure on your veins. To prevent worsening varicose veins, you should try to keep your weight on the healthy margin. Exercise and following a healthy diet can help keep weight gain under control.
Likewise, there are specific foods that you can incorporate to promote healthy veins. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, potassium, and bioflavonoids helps minimize the risk of varicose veins. It is also said that bioflavonoids can improve circulation and strengthen the vein wall to avoid broken blood vessels.
As much as possible, limit consumption of processed foods and canned foods since these are high in sodium content. This may cause your body to hold more water than usual which elevates blood volume and pressure in the veins.
3. Try compression therapy
A patient with existing varicose veins may be advised to wear a compression hose or compression stocking for a period of time. Compression therapy works by adding controlled pressure to the affected vein, bringing blood flow back to normal. Wearing a graduated compression stocking can also help improve leg pain and swelling.
4. Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods of time
The vein valves in the legs help push blood against gravity and ensure that they flow back to the heart. When you stand or remain seated for long hours, the pressure that accumulates in the vein can weaken these valves and result in varicose veins. Wearing compression socks can help provide support to your legs if you need to stand or sit all day. You should also try to maintain elevation of the legs so that blood will not gather in the veins.
5. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
Tight clothes like skinny jeans, garters, and girdles can restrict blood flow, especially in the lower body parts. Try to change up your outfits and wear more comfortable and looser pieces to minimize your chances of getting varicose veins. The same goes for wearing high heels since it puts pressure on the calf muscles and affects the circulation of blood. Wearing flats and low-heeled shoes may be a better option to help prevent varicose veins.
What Factors Contribute To Varicose Vein Problem?
To put it simply, varicose vein disease occurs when the vein valves become weakened or damaged to function normally. However, there are also other factors that can increase your chances for varicose vein development:
- Gender - The female hormones that are present in women make them more susceptible to developing varicose veins.
- Genetics - It may be more likely for you to get varicose veins if you have a family history of a vein condition.
- Pregnancy - During pregnancy, your body experiences an increase in blood volume which adds pressure to the blood vessels.
- Overweight or obesity - Excess weight significantly causes a strain on your veins which can potentially damage them.
- Presence of blood clots - Varicose veins may also be caused by a formation of a blood clot from a previous injury which blocks the flow of blood in the veins.
Learn more: When to Worry About Varicose Veins
Treatments That Can Help With Varicose Veins
While varicose veins can be remedied at home, there are cases when you need to visit a vein doctor or vascular surgeon to diagnose its cause and find the appropriate treatment. Immediate management of moderate varicose veins can also prevent them from developing into serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis and venous ulcers. The following are the available options for vein removal:
- Sclerotherapy - This varicose vein treatment involves injections of a liquid or foam solution to force the walls of the damaged vein to close.
- Laser treatment - During a laser vein treatment, a laser device is placed over the skin where the varicose vein is. It will emit a laser heat energy that will shrink and destroy the diseased veins until they are no longer visible.
- Endovenous ablation - This treatment also uses laser energy but instead of an external application, it uses a catheter inserted into the vein and a laser fiber that sends heat to seal the affected vein.
- Radiofrequency ablation - Radiofrequency treatment also uses a tiny catheter that sends radiofrequency energy to cause the damaged veins to form scar tissue that will close its walls.
Learn more: What Are the Options for Varicose Vein Surgery
See a Vein Specialist At Vein Center Doctor
The symptoms and appearance of varicose veins can be easily managed at home by adopting certain adjustments to your lifestyle. But for severe varicose veins, you may need a trip to a vein clinic to get the appropriate treatment to eliminate them for good.
Here at Vein Center Doctor, we specialize in safe and effective vein care and treatments for spider veins and varicose veins. Our clinic is composed of doctors and staff who are all experts in treating vascular conditions and have helped many patients with customized vein treatment plans. Book an appointment with us today to know how you can achieve a vein-free life.