Want to prevent varicose veins and other vascular disorders? Follow these six simple tips to promote vein health.
Your circulatory system contains roughly 60,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries that replenish your cells and organs with oxygenated blood. Most of the time, the system is functioning properly without you even having to think about it. But if there is a breakdown anywhere in the process, vascular disorders can occur, most notably varicose veins.
Your veins are responsible for circulating blood back to the heart with the help of tiny valves that push blood upward to the chest. Certain risk factors like obesity, inactivity, and heredity can cause these valves to weaken, allowing blood to collect in the veins. As the volume of blood builds up, the veins eventually stretch out under the skin and form enlarged varicose veins.
Varicose veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as leg swelling, pain, itching, and cramping. If you have a family history of varicose veins or work in a sedentary job where you sit all day, you’ll want to devote some time to keeping your veins healthy. Here’s how you can help prevent varicose veins and other vascular disorders.
How to Keep Your Veins Healthy
According to the Society of Vascular Surgery, 35 percent of Americans suffer from varicose veins. Yet there are simple precautions you can take to avoid the discomfort of varicose veins and maintain your vein health throughout your life. Start by following these six tips:
- Stop Smoking. Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that thicken your blood and deplete it of oxygen. Thicker blood flows more slowly, which increases the chances it will pool in the legs and contribute to the development of varicose veins. Further, nicotine damages the arteries, resulting in a buildup of plaque that could cause heart disease.
- Stay Active. Working out is a great way to keep your veins healthy. Exercises that work the calf muscles are particularly beneficial for your veins. Strong calf muscles provide extra support to the veins as they pump blood back to the heart. Even when you’re not exercising, you can maintain your vein health by moving as much as possible. Your leg veins don’t work as well when you sit at a desk all day or stand for long hours at your job. So be sure to take frequent walks around the office to relieve the pressure on your veins.
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins C and E are essential for vein health, so you should incorporate broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish into your meals. Also, keep in mind that your digestion plays an important role in your vein health. When you consume fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, and lentils, you prevent constipation and the pressure that puts on your abdomen and the veins in your legs.
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking plenty of water thins your blood, helping it flow smoothly through your veins. On the other hand, dehydration thickens the blood, and thick blood has a tendency to clot or pool in the veins.
- Buy Compression Stockings. Available in drugstores or by prescription, compression stockings are made of super-strong elastic that constricts the veins in the legs. As the veins tighten, blood flows more easily. If you work at a desk job, know you have a family or personal history of venous insufficiency, or are about to take a long plane ride, compression stockings can safeguard your veins from the negative effects of those risk factors.
- Seek Treatment. Be proactive about your vein health. If the pain, swelling, and fatigue of varicose veins are impacting your quality of life, you can explore several minimally invasive treatments with a vein specialist. In addition, people with a family history of varicose veins may benefit from a consultation with a vein specialist who is able to provide more tips on keeping your veins in top condition.
Keeping Your Veins Healthy
At the Siragusa Vein and Laser Center, our practice focuses on promoting vein health and treating varicose veins and vascular disorders. Our skilled staff led by Dr. Tif Siragusa carefully evaluates each patient to ensure they receive the individualized attention they deserve. Contact us for a free vein screening.