Varicose veins are unsightly, and they can cause legs to throb and ache. They appear mostly on the legs due to force of gravity and the pressure of our body weight. Our leg veins have the job of moving blood from the bottom of our body up to the heart, and if the valves in our veins malfunction or become weakened, they don’t move the blood efficiently. As a result blood can pool in our legs, and the veins become stretched, leak or protrude.
There are ways to reduce the risk of this happening with 5 daily habits to prevent varicose veins.
Engage in Moderate Exercise
Walking, biking, and swimming are excellent ways to improve circulation, especially in the legs. You don’t have to join a gym and lift weights to prevent varicose veins from forming. For example, 20 minutes of walking twice a week will make a difference in your leg strength and reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.
Alter Your Diet
If you are really serious about preventing varicose veins, make some changes to your diet. Nothing crazy – just make some adjustments like reducing your salt intake and adding high fiber foods. Switch from white breads and pastas to whole wheat. The fiber will reduce incidences of constipation which contribute to the development of varicose veins, and in addition, less salt will help with swelling. Discontinue or reduce processed sugar products as sugar puts stress on your vascular system.
Fresh fruits like blackberries, apples, apricots and grapes are especially healthy choices. Begin seeking out excellent sources of Vitamin E, such as dietary supplements, to help prevent blood clots.
Switch Up Your Wardrobe
Since women are 50% more likely to develop varicose veins than men, this might be a bit more tricky. There are some suggested changes to prevent varicose veins including:
- Stash the high heels, except for short periods of time.
- Wear flats or low heels as much as possible to stimulate your calf muscles and blood flow.
- Buy compression hosiery to squeeze the legs and encourage blood to move more efficiently. They have improved the look to simply appear like black tights and not Grandma’s stockings, and they are available at most pharmacies, medical supply stores, or by prescription from your doctor. These special compression socks help to decrease the discomfort and swelling, and prevent or slow down the development of varicose veins.
- Avoid tight clothing especially at the waist, groin, and leg areas. Skinny jeans and heels might need to be relegated to special occasions to prevent varicose veins.
If you sit at a desk all day for work, get up and move regularly. If you stand while you work, shift your weight from one leg to the other. Sitting or standing too long in one position can encourage blood pooling in the legs. Flex and bend your legs regularly to keep the blood circulating.
Miscellaneous Daily Habits To Prevent Varicose Veins
Avoid crossing your legs, especially for long periods of time. Many believe this is a risk factor for developing varicose veins.
Elevate your legs above your heart when you return home at night, or several times a day if you are more sedentary. Use a few pillows or a larger stuffed object.
Always attempt to sit straight and avoid crossing your legs. The National Heart and Lung Institute says that sitting at a desk or anywhere with poor posture, like leaning your head forward (as many do), increases the risk for varicose veins.
Not all varicose veins can be prevented, but you can certainly reduce your chances of developing new ones. Talk to Dr. Robert Handley about the wide variety of options to remove the varicose veins you already have.