Your veins perform an important job: they carry oxygen-depleted blood from the arms and legs back to the heart.
Did you know these veins contain small valves that help prevent blood from flowing backward and pooling in your legs and feet? When these valves malfunction, unattractive and unhealthy varicose veins form. Not all varicose veins are dangerous, but they are considered a vascular disorder that may need to be treated.
Here’s more about how to prevent and treat varicose veins, from the vein doctor near Tampa, Florida.
Preventing & Treating Varicose Veins in the Legs
If you have a family history of varicose veins, you have an increased risk of developing the condition. So, if your mother, father, or other close relative had varicose veins in their legs, you may develop them, too.
The good news is that there are numerous lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent them from developing in the first place – or slow their progression and the likelihood of complications.
Here are some prevention tips and treatments you can do at home.
1. Lose Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the pressure on the veins in your legs. This improves blood circulation and can help prevent blood from pooling in your legs. However, once varicose veins are present, weight loss can help prevent their worsening, but it won’t get rid of them.
2. Stop Smoking
For smokers, this can be a tall order. However, your doctor can help you with a medically supervised smoking cessation program that includes medication, behavior modification, and/or counseling to help you kick the habit. Why should you stop smoking? Smoking harms blood circulation, making it even more difficult for oxygenated blood to reach the legs and for blood to easily travel back to the heart.
If you have a desk job, take a break each hour. This break should include getting up from your chair, stretching, and walking a bit. Also, try to engage in low- to moderate-impact cardio exercise for at least a half-hour each day. This might include walking, bicycling, rowing, or swimming. Your arteries and veins will thank you for it by working more efficiently.
4. Take Vitamins and Supplements
Tampa’s vein expert recommends over-the-counter supplements for good vein health, such as vitamins C, B3, and E. Foods rich in flavonoids–apples and berries, for example– help to keep vein walls strong and operational. Ask your varicose vein doctor for specific recommendations suited to your unique health needs and that don’t interact negatively with your current prescription medications.
5. Elevate Your Legs at the End of the Day
Seeing your feet and legs swell after standing all day? Do they hurt, cramp, or appear discolored? What about itchiness–is it a skin condition, or could it be varicose veins? Whatever your symptoms, be sure you visit a vein specialist to get the treatment you need. In the interim, regularly elevating your feet can improve circulation to your legs.
6. Change What You Wear
Compression wear is key! These include specially designed stockings that apply graduated pressure to the legs to encourage blood flow up and out from your feet upward. You should also avoid clothing that fits tight at the waist as it may impede blood flow.
7. See Your Vein Specialist
To treat existing varicose veins, there are a wide variety of therapeutic options to choose from. What is right for you will depend on the location and severity of your varicose veins.
Your treatment options may include sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, laser therapy, or even more invasive techniques, such as vein stripping. Ask your varicose vein doctor which varicose vein treatment is right for you.
Edward C. Mackay and Associates in SW FL
Dr. Mackay is a board-certified vascular surgeon with decades of experience in vein health and treatment. Call today to book a consultation regarding varicose veins, spider veins, or other vascular conditions.
At Edward C. Mackay and Associates, we have three locations in southwest Florida: Largo, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg. Contact us for an appointment by calling (727) 349-5652 or request an appointment now. We will be very happy to serve you.