by Dr. Greg Albaugh
Varicose veins are large blood vessels that show up underneath the skin on your legs. As unsightly as they are, they can also indicate serious health issues including poor circulation, and can lead to the weakening of the blood vessel walls and cause severe pain. Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. They also are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often, they are red or blue. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short, jagged lines. Here are 10 tips to help you prevent varicose & spider veins by maintaining healthy circulation in your legs:
Prevention Tip #1: Reducing your weight is one way to prevent varicose veins. Extra weight and strain on the legs is one of the major causes of varicose veins, so getting down to a healthy weight will be as beneficial to varicose vein prevention as it will be to other aspects of your health.
Prevention Tip #2: Try to avoid standing for long periods of time in order to prevent varicose veins from forming. The added stress on your legs
puts stress on the veins and can cause varicose veins to form if you’re not careful.
Prevention Tip #3: Since you can’t avoid standing completely, you can help to prevent making varicose veins worse by wearing compression stockings that help improve your circulation. We recommend that patients wear a 15 mm Hg to 20 mm Hg pressure hose every day. With larger varicose veins your physician may prescribe up to 30 mm Hg to 40 mm Hg pressure.
Prevention Tip #4: Exercising, especially by biking, swimming, and walking, can help to improve the circulation in your legs and prevent varicose veins.
Prevention Tip #5: By quitting smoking, you help increase the circulation in your entire body, including your legs. Quitting smoking will help to avoid high blood pressure, which is also associated with the development of varicose veins.
Prevention Tip #6: Females should avoid high-estrogen birth control pills and hormonal supplements to prevent varicose veins. Estrogen in high amounts has been shown to change your circulation, which can contribute to the development of varicose veins.
Prevention Tip #7: Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. Even moving your legs slightly helps increase your circulation.
Prevention Tip #8: Wear low-heeled or flat shoes whenever possible, and clothes that aren’t constricting to your legs and waist, in order to keep the circulation going in your legs and prevent varicose & spider veins.
Prevention Tip #9: Kick up your feet and relax awhile! By elevating your feet above your heart for a period of time each day, you can help prevent the development of varicose & spider veins.
Prevention Tip #10: If you find that these tips aren’t enough to prevent varicose & spider veins, consider seeking a consultation with a vascular specialist. There are minimally invasive medical treatments designed to treat varicose & spider veins to keep you looking and feeling your best this summer.
Dr. Greg Albaugh is board certified in both general and vascular surgeries. He has been with Coastal Vascular Center since 2004 with offices in both Camarillo and Oxnard. He is currently the director of the peripheral vascular lab at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. For more info. Visit www.coastalvascularcentercom