Are you one of the many people who suffer from varicose veins? We have found a few ways to slow down appearance and prevent them from getting worse.
Varicose veins can be caused by being overweight, feet injuries, long distance running, pregnancies and treatments that contain estrogen (eg birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy) can intensify the problem. It has been thought for a long time that varicose veins in the legs was mainly a visual problem but it has come to light that it could actually be a serious problem which can develop into something much worse. If you have enlarged veins in the legs it could be because one of the valves has stopped working, but this also has a knock on effect. These special one-way valves help the return of blood to the heart and lungs. The valves work like locks in a canal. As blood flows through a valve, its “doors” slam shut so the blood can’t flow backwards and keeps the blood pumping around the body. If any one the valves stops working blood can seep back down and begin to pool, this generally happens in the lower legs. The extra pressure from the increased volume of pooling blood can, over time, cause other valves to stop working.
Eventually, the pressure from the pooling blood can cause the vein’s walls to bulge and mis-shapen. This is when the veins may start to show through the skin surface and look knotty, bumpy and gnarled and taking on a dark blue or purple color. This can make the legs feel heavy, throb and have a burning pain, leg cramps and change the color of the skin around the legs and ankles. It can also cause joint pain and the skin can thicken and harden around the legs and ankles. In extreme cases the inflammation of a vein Thrombosis which has been known to cause blood clots on the lungs. Varicose veins are genetic but they can also be found in people who tend to work on their legs all day, such as hairdressers, waitresses, cleaners, shop assistants, surgeons and athletes. Surprisingly, very few people actually treat varicose veins and even though there is no way to completely prevent varicose veins from appearing it is possible to slow down the process and prevent it from getting worse.
Here are a 12 tips to slow down the appearance of Varicose Veins
1. Be aware if you are standing for long periods of time shake your legs every so often to prevent the accumulation of blood.
2. Flex your feet. By contracting the muscles in your feet it can help force blood upward and out of the veins. If you are sat down for any period of time try flexing your foot up and down as you would when you pump a gas pedal or piano pedal. Also rotate your feet clockwise and counterclockwise to get the ankles moving and the blood pumping.
3. Do not sit cross-legged, it increases pressure on the leg veins.
4. Gentle exercise such as swimming and walking can strengthen the walls of the blood vessels and prevent or delay the development of prominent veins.
5. Avoid strenuous physical activity that can put heavy pressure on the veins, e.g weight training.
6. By sitting or laying down with your legs slightly elevated will improve the blood flow from the legs to the heart. If your legs are very swollen try sleeping with your legs elevated, forcing the blood up out of your feet and legs.
7. By having cold or lukewarm showers you can shrink the veins.
8. To stop swollen veins from getting worse it is recommended to apply elastic stockings or elastic bandages that provide support.
9. Be aware of your weight, if you are overweight it will put unnecessary pressure on your veins.
10. Take Vitamin B, vitamin C and zinc to help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels and strengthen their walls, this can prevent or delay the appearance of varicose veins.
11. Wear elastic socks on long haul flights. Talk to your physician and if you have a prescription take blood thinners such as aspirin which help to prevent blood clots and venous thrombosis.
12. Get yourself some comfy shoes that have laces which can be loosened if needed and keep your high heels for special occasions. Walking in high heels can aggravate varicose veins.
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