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Lifestyle Changes for Varicose Vein Management: Diet and Exercise

Varicose veins can be painful and unsightly, but they’re common, with the National Library of Medicine stating that 20% of adults will develop them at some point.

There are many types of varicose vein treatments, including implementing lifestyle changes to help you manage this issue. Read more about what varicose veins are and how lifestyle changes help.

What Are Varicose Veins and How Do They Form?

A varicose vein is a twisted and swollen blood vessel that begins to bulge under your skin’s surface. Varicose veins tend to appear in your legs, ankles, and feet and are either purple or blue. They can be accompanied by:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • A feeling of having heavy legs
  • Swelling
  • Skin discoloration
  • Ulcers

Varicose veins develop when your vein walls get weaker due to genetics, pressure due to gravity and standing, trauma, hormones, or a combination of those factors. As the pressure from blood stasis increases due to the normal activities of standing and sitting, the weakened walls allow the vein to expand. The larger the vein becomes, the more difficult it is for the valves to control the direction in which blood moves as needed, which allows blood pooling to worsen, causing it to twist and swell.

Although anyone can develop varicose veins, women tend to have them more often than men. That’s because female hormones make it possible for the walls of the veins to stretch. Older people are also more prone to developing them because valves and vein walls don’t work as well as they did when you were younger.

Lifestyle Changes for Treating Varicose Veins

A huge factor in both the development and the management of varicose veins is your lifestyle. You’re more likely to develop these issues if you lead a sedentary life and if you are overweight. Spending a lot of time sitting down slows down your venous blood circulation, making it easier for varicose veins to form.

If you have varicose veins, making changes to your lifestyle is an excellent way to manage the problem. These changes can also prevent new varicose veins from appearing.

Improve Your Diet

Your diet plays a crucial role in your blood pressure levels. High blood pressure affects all aspects of your health, including the formation or worsening of varicose veins. Stay away from consuming an excess of:

  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Saturated fats
  • Sugary foods

Add options like leafy greens and other vegetables, as well as fruits, to your diet. Many fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, with those that contain high levels of vitamin C helping reduce swelling in existing varicose veins.

Fiber-rich foods are also important because they keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels low. Make sure you’re also drinking a lot of water, which improves circulation.

Exercise More

Exercise gets your circulation moving, making the formation of varicose veins less likely. Something as simple as taking a walk every day goes a long way.

Not only does exercise help improve blood circulation, but it also leads to weight loss. Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your legs, making it easier for varicose veins to form. Once you lose a few pounds, your circulation usually improves, leading to less discomfort as you live with varicose veins.

Alternate Between Standing and Sitting

Standing or sitting for long periods is detrimental to your overall health and puts you at risk of developing new varicose veins or making those you have more painful. Standing for too long makes your veins start to overwork, potentially leading to the pooling of blood.

Sitting too long is also a concern because you’re not allowing blood to circulate efficiently. To manage these issues, change positions more often throughout the day and walk around.

You may also want to wear compression stockings throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of standing or sitting. These stockings help maintain blood flow while also reducing swelling and discomfort.

Get Treatment for Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins that cause discomfort or even pain, the best thing to do is consider the various treatment options available.

At Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center, we offer services, including microphlebectomies, to help you get the relief you need. Schedule a consultation at Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center today to begin.

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