Our veins are pretty amazing when you think about it. They move ALL our blood (over 1 gallon!) up towards the heart and lungs. But if they don’t work properly, the blood flows backward and pools, leading to large, swollen, or itchy veins.
If you experience vein discomfort like this, you’re not alone. Over 48 million men and women suffer from vein diseases like spider and varicose veins. But Good News! Not only are there treatments for it, but there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your vein health.
The following lifestyle changes may help reduce the appearance of veins and improve their overall health. Seek treatment from a certified vein specialist to address your vein health concerns before the condition worsens.
1. Increase Your Physical Activity
Walking just 30 minutes a day is a great way to get moving and help the blood circulate in your legs and feet. When you walk, the muscles in your legs help push the blood through your veins, which will decrease the pressure in your varicose veins.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
When you stay hydrated, your blood tends to be thinner which makes it easier for your body to circulate. Thinner blood also makes clotting less likely to occur. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
3. Shed A Few Pounds
Extra weight puts a strain on your heart and organs and can make varicose veins worse. Losing weight can alleviate vein-related pain and swelling as well as slow the formation of new varicose veins.
4. Easy on the Salt
Salt retains water. When you eat salty food, the extra fluid in your bloodstream makes your veins work harder. The result is higher blood pressure and strain on the delicate walls of your veins. Try looking for low-sodium food alternatives, or use substitutes like lemon juice when you want more flavor.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking damages your lungs wreaks havoc on arteries and put you at risk for many other cardiovascular issues. The chemicals in tobacco remove oxygen and thicken the blood. The Nicotine also makes your veins harden and narrow. This causes the blood to flow at a much slower pace and ultimately, damages the function of your blood vessels.
6. Raise Your Legs and Feet
Elevating your legs will keep the blood from pooling in your lower leg. This will reduce swelling and improve overall blood flow. Aim to lift your legs at the same level as your heart or higher. If it’s comfortable in your body, lay on your back and place your legs up a wall. Place a fluffy pillow under your legs or back for added comfort and support.
7. Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing
If your job or lifestyle involves sitting or standing for long periods of time, it’s important that you stretch. Practice bending and flexing your legs periodically to keep the blood circulating and prevent pooling. Just raising your legs up and down can help with any backed-up blood flow. When sitting, try not to cross your legs as this can further restrict blood flow to the legs and feet.
8. Ditch the High Heels
When you wear high heels, it minimizes the range of motion in your foot and ankle. As a result, your calf muscle can’t properly pump the blood back up through your veins. This can cause the blood in the leg veins to pool and manifest varicose veins. It is recommended to find a flat shoe that offers support.
When your veins are healthy and happy, they won’t be visible on the surface of your skin or cause any discomfort and pain. While lifestyle changes may contribute to improved vein health, it is not a permanent solution.
If you have experienced prolonged vein problems, consult with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you. Vein procedures today are non-invasive and covered by most insurance companies. Make sure to find a doctor that specializes in veins to ensure you get the best results possible.
At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.