Varicose veins are unsightly, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. They affect over 40 million people in the United States alone, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when your veins become dilated, enlarged, or overfilled with blood. They can appear blueish or purple in color, and they are quite often raised and painful. Varicose veins are quite common, with most cases suffered by women. It is estimated that almost 25 percent of American women have some degree of venous deficiency, and this number continues to rise with our increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
Varicose veins appear for many reasons. Some risk factors for their development include:
- Family history
- Being overweight or obese
- Taking certain medication or hormone replacement therapies
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Lacking physical exercise
While some of these risk factors are harder to avoid than others, there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing this unsightly and uncomfortable swelling. Follow these simple tips to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins:
- Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing
Remaining in one position for too long can contribute to the pooling of blood in veins throughout your legs. Gravity works against your circulation system as it becomes harder for your heart to move blood efficiently through the body. Moving around helps to reduce venous pressure and increase circulation, making it less likely for blood to pool in ways that can contribute to varicose veins.
- Wear compression socks
Compression socks and hosiery can help compress the veins, making it difficult for blood to pool in the wrong places. Wearing compression socks and hosiery can help to reduce painful swelling, itchiness, and night cramps associated with venous deficiency. Talk to your doctor to determine the level of compassion you have for your unique needs; take into account your level of activity, your family history, and your age when finding garments that will do the preventative work for you.
- Be healthy
Varicose veins can sometimes develop from genetic predisposition and other environmental factors that you don’t have control over. At other times, they are the result of lifestyle choices that can be altered to reduce their incidence. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, and staying at a healthy weight are all ways to reduce the development of varicose veins.
- Exercise and stay active
One of the most beneficial exercises to undertake to prevent varicose veins is walking. Another great activity is yoga; yoga improves your circulation and strengthens muscles that can aid in helping blood to circulate through the body efficiently. Other good ideas for activities include cycling and swimming; they are relatively easy on the joints and they provide cardiovascular and strength benefits that improve whole body health. If you haven’t previously embraced an active lifestyle, start with 10 minute walks daily; gradually work your way up to 30-45 minutes of moderately paced exercise several times per week. The increased strength in your legs will improve circulation significantly.
- Evaluate your sleeping position
Pregnancy is a main cause of varicose veins; much of the excess blood circulating around an expectant mother’s body pools when sleeping. Aim for sleeping on your left side with a soft pillow between your thighs to minimize circulation issues; this will reduce extra pressure placed on the lower half of your body caused by your expanding uterus.
Certified vein doctor Krista Bannon suggests that regular practice of these preventative tips results in better vein health, better circulation, and better health overall. If you find yourself suffering from painful and unsightly varicose veins, consider a visit to Metro Vein centers. Our qualified and caring staff will assess your vein health, match you with a qualified vein doctor, and work with you to reduce and even eliminate your discomfort. You deserve to have healthy, beautiful legs once more; give Metro Vein centers a call today for more information. Better health is in your future!