Millions of men and women in the U.S. suffer from poor circulation in their legs, and unfortunately, it’s a problem that’s often ignored. Poor circulation can occur for different reasons, including serious issues like leg vein disease. Whatever the underlying cause, without treatment, impaired circulation in your legs can lead to a host of problems, some of which can be life-threatening. What’s worse, while poor leg circulation can sometimes cause symptoms like swelling, cold feet, warm or red areas of skin, varicose veins, spider veins or pain, other times it causes few or even no noticeable symptoms, which means you may have poor leg circulation and not even know it. That’s why making sure you do all you can to improve leg circulation is important. whether you have symptoms or not.
The good news: It’s not difficult to improve your leg circulation, and if you start implementing these six tips today, your legs will thank you for years to come:
Get up and move. Plenty of us spend most of our days seated at a desk – then we follow it up with evenings spent sitting in front of the TV or computer. Taking frequent breaks at work – ideally, a few minutes every hour – to stand, walk and stretch helps keep the blood flowing and reduces the risks of clots and varicose veins.
Use good posture. When you are sitting at your desk, you can reduce the pressures on your lower legs and feet by keeping your feet slightly elevated on a stool or box that’s about six-12 inches tall. Keep your legs slightly separated and avoid crossing your legs which some studies suggest can increase the pressure inside your veins and interfere with normal blood flow. In bed, consider using a pillow under your legs to provide gentle elevation that can help reduce pressure inside your lower leg and foot veins.
Stretch more. Stretching gives your veins a little extra “oomph” to move blood where it needs to go. And what’s great about stretching is you can do it any time – even while you’re at work. Search online for “desk exercises” to learn some simple stretches you can do at your desk, in front of the TV – even while you’re stuck in traffic.
Stop smoking. Smoking causes a host of medical problems, including problems that directly affect your blood vessels and your heart. Blood clots and “stiff” vessels are far more common among smokers. Plus, ling damage related to smoking can make it more difficult to move and stay physically active.
Wear compression stockings. These special socks use elastic fibers that exert gentle pressure on your leg veins, helping your veins (and the tiny valves inside them) keep blood flowing back toward your heart. Compression stockings are available without a prescription, but before you run off to the pharmacy to grab a pair, you should see a vein doctor to make sure you get the right type of stocking and the right pressure strength to get the most benefits and avoid doing more damage.
Alter your diet. One of the best ways to keep your veins and arteries healthy is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and to cut back – way back – on unhealthy fats and processed foods. Unhealthy fats can increase your levels of cholesterol, a sticky substance that clings to the inside walls of your vessels and prevents normal circulation. Adding spices like turmeric and cayenne may also improve circulation by decreasing inflammation that can damage vessels. Plus, eating healthy foods can help you lose excess weight which may also interfere with normal circulation.
One more way to improve your vein health: Schedule a vein evaluation at the Bellamah Veearliest. Dr. Donald Bellamah is skilled in identifying circulation issues in their eariliest stages, even before noticeable symptoms begin. Plus, he’s experienced in state-of-the-art vein treatment options for leg vein disease, varicose veins, spider veins and other vascular issues, so you can get care that’s optimized for your unique needs. To learn more about vein treatment options or to schedule an office visit, call the Bellamah Vein Center at (406) 203-1866 today.