Did you know that if you laid all of the blood vessels in the adult human body end to end, the line would stretch nearly 100,000 miles? It’s true! Along with arteries and capillaries, veins are part of the body’s circulatory system. While gravity helps arteries move blood downwards towards your feet, veins must fight gravity to move blood back upwards. All this work can lead to wear and tear on your veins, which may lead to varicose veins and other leg vein disease.
Varicose veins are a common vein problem that occurs when blood accumulates in the veins in your lower legs. Fortunately, there are ways to take care of your veins to reduce your risk of vein problems.
Physical activity gets your blood pumping, which helps your veins move blood upwards and out of your legs. Walking and climbing stairs are excellent exercises for your calves, as are bicycle riding and golf.
Carrying around extra weight puts excess pressure on your veins, so getting rid of a few extra pounds helps. Your food choices are also important – cut down on salty foods, as the sodium in food can cause swelling from water retention and this can lead to vein problems.
Trade those high heels in for flatter shoes – lower heels work your calf muscles more, so they are better for your veins. Avoid clothing that is tight at your waist, groin or legs, as they may reduce blood flow to your lower body. Losing a couple of pounds will help your clothes fit a little looser too.
If you already have vein problems, you may try wearing compression stockings. While these stockings are tight, they have a special design that squeezes blood up and out of the veins in your lower legs. Ask your doctor if compression stockings are right for you.
Changing position frequently can stimulate blood flow. It is especially important to avoid crossing your legs, as some doctors believe it may increase problems with circulation.
When you do sit, prop your legs up so that your feet are at the same level as your heart or higher. This helps the blood drain out of the veins in your lower legs. Sit in a recliner while watching television, reading or engaging in your favorite hobby. You can prop your legs up on three or four pillows to get the same effect.
Prompt vein treatment for leg vein disease can reduce the signs and symptoms of varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein diseases.
For more information about vein health and ways to take care of your veins, consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional. Taking good care of your veins can help you reduce your risk for varicose veins and other vein problems.