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Lifestyle changes to prevent varicose veins

PREVENTION: Exercise helps keep the blood flowing in the legs

AMONG ADULTS, nearly three in every 10 experience varicose veins throughout their lifetime. Varicose veins are an uncomfortable, and prevalent issue, particularly among older individuals. It is important to note that while vein issues do not impact ethnic groups differently, some of the risk factors associated with varicose veins may be more prevalent among the black community. This makes it necessary to understand what varicose veins are and who is most at risk. Fortunately, there are easy ways to help prevent the development of varicose veins, as well as remedies for treating vein problems if they already exist.

What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are dark blue or purple veins that twist and bulge beneath the skin. When vein walls are weakened, varicose veins form, most commonly in the legs. Vein walls may break down with age, or due to other factors that cause problems with vein valves. In some cases, veins lose elasticity and stretch out, which leads to an inability of the blood to flow freely.

The majority of adults with varicose veins can see and feel the broken veins, and they may experience a variety of symptoms along with the condition. The most common symptoms of varicose veins include the following:

• Heavy, aching legs
• Soreness at the varicose vein site
• Swelling of the legs and ankles
• Itchiness
• Cramping in the legs
• Ulcers on the skin
• Rashes on the lower leg
• Restless legs

Although the symptoms of varicose veins differ from one person to the next, there are certain risk factors that can lead to varicose veins.

Individuals most likely to develop varicose veins as they age include adults who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, those who are currently or who have been pregnant in the past, or those who have a genetic predisposition to vein disease. Additionally, adults who spend a significant amount of time on their feet day to day may be more susceptible to developing vein problems during their lifetime.

Tips for Preventing Varicose Veins
According to vein specialists at Radiance Vein Clinic, understanding varicose vein causes is the first step toward prevention. There are some risk factors, such as genetic history and pregnancy that cannot be overcome to eliminate the chance of varicose veins, but when certain lifestyle changes are implemented, a reduction in the potential for vein issues may be possible.

The first step toward preventing varicose veins is leading a healthy life that includes a balanced diet and a regular routine of physical activity. Exercise helps keep the blood flowing in the legs, but it also promotes a healthy weight. Being in the range of a healthy weight for one’s height, age, and gender helps eliminate excess pressure put on the legs, leading to a lower probability of varicose veins.

In addition to exercise and a balanced diet, adults concerned about the development of varicose veins should have a routine that includes taking breaks throughout the day. Getting up from a desk to walk around increases the blood flow in the legs, as does lifting the legs up on a chair or pillow throughout the day. Some experts also suggest avoiding wearing high heels and tight hosiery for extended periods. The combination of these small lifestyle changes can have a drastic, positive impact on the development of varicose veins in some adults.

Solutions for Vein Issues
While there are strategies for decreasing risk factors for vein issues, not everyone is fortunate enough to avoid varicose veins altogether. When veins become varicose, there are solutions to treat them helping ease discomfort and the cosmetic woes that go hand in hand with bulging, dark veins. Many vein experts recommend starting treatment with non-invasive methods, such as compression stocking and rest and elevation of the legs over time.

When these treatment options do not work, surgical options ranging from minimally-invasive to invasive may be prescribed. Surgeries may include laser treatment to seal off varicose veins, or injection therapy to achieve a similar result.

Varicose veins are a prevalent issue among adults, but subtle lifestyle changes can help with prevention. When vein issues are already a cause for discomfort or frustration, individuals have the ability to lean on either non- and minimally-invasive surgeries to help treat the problems over time.

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