If the idea or wearing shorts mortifies you, you’re not alone. The more than 40 million Americans who develop varicose veins can relate. The bad news is there’s no way to prevent varicose veins, but the good news is you can stop the ones you have from getting worse and prevent new ones from forming. Read on to learn a few steps you can take to keep your varicose veins in check.
Understanding Varicose Veins
Give the veins in your lower legs some credit – they have a difficult job to do. They’re tasked with pushing against the force of gravity to deliver blood to your heart and prevent it from flowing backward. In some individuals, the valves that keep blood flowing become weak and damaged, causing blood to pool in the veins. When this happens the veins swell, taking on the appearance that varicose vein sufferers know all too well.
Don’t blame your relatives, but family history is the number one risk factor for varicose veins. If you have relatives with these snake-like veins, chances are much higher that you’ll develop them too. Before you curse your heritage know that genetics isn’t everything.
Other factors contribute to varicose vein development, such as:
- Leg trauma
- Sedentary lifestyle
Some of these factors you can control, while others are out of your hands. By focusing on the risk factors under your influence, you can stop your varicose veins in their tracks and make sure new ones don’t form.
Obesity is a major risk factor for varicose veins. If you think carrying extra padding isn’t harmful, guess again. Being overweight puts added pressure on the veins of your lower legs, causing the valves to weaken and varicose veins to form.
There’s a reason doctors routinely recommend weight loss for overweight patients with varicose veins. Slimming down not only prevents new varicose veins from rearing their head, it lowers the risk of complications like blood clots, ulcers, and fluid buildup.
The term “use it or lose it” applies when it comes to varicose veins. The body adapts based on your lifestyle and when you hit the couch and veg out too much, your muscles tend to shrink. Take leg muscles, for example; strong leg muscles play an important role in helping blood in your legs pump efficiently, keeping your valves in shape and your circulatory system healthy.
That’s why lack of exercise is another varicose vein risk factor. This should give you a reason to get off the couch and get moving. Regular exercise helps ward off new varicose veins and reduces the pain and discomfort associated with venous disease.
Here are three simple, yet effective ways you can get moving to improve varicose veins:
- Take a short walking break every 2-to-3 hours if you have a job that requires sitting or standing for long periods.
- Take the stairs, instead of the elevator, when possible.
- Park your car a few blocks from your destination and walk.
Fill up on fiber
One of the keys to preventing new varicose veins may lie in your diet. You may be surprised to learn that a low-fiber diet contributes to varicose veins. The average American only manages to get about half of the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber each daily. Listen up if you’re among them.
Fiber keeps food moving through your digestive system, softens your stool and adds bulk. When your diet lacks fiber, you end up with dry, hard stools that you have to strain to pass, which is bad news for varicose veins.
Straining during bowel movements weakens your blood vessels and contributes to varicose vein development.
Bulking up on high fiber foods like whole grains and beans is shown to fight varicose veins.
Feeling embarrassed by the sight of your legs can be a thing of the past. At his clinics in Oviedo and Winter Haven, Florida, Dr. Obinna Nwobi offers effective treatment options to banish varicose veins. Take charge and reclaim your confidence. Request an appointment today.