Veins are a vital part of the circulatory system. The veins below your heart, in your legs and torso must fight against gravity as blood makes its way back up to your heart. To do this, these vessels depend on your leg muscles to pump blood back up to the heart. These veins also contain one-way valves that close like doors once blood is pumped through them. When these valves fail, this causes blood to move back down into your legs and pool in the lower leg veins. Eventually, the pooling of blood causes vein walls to bulge outward and show through the skin surface.
Also known as superficial venous insufficiency, varicose veins are dark in color, swollen and twisted under the skin. Varicose veins can be hereditary. Aging and/or being overweight also increases your risk. Some mild symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Tenderness or pain
- Swelling in feet and ankles
- Itching of the affected area
More severe symptoms include:
- Leg swelling
- Skin changes
An estimated 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men are affected by varicose veins. While there are medical treatments, there are a few home remedies that can prevent or at least postpone varicose veins.
Exercising regularly helps with blood circulation which prevents blood from pooling. Working out also contracts your leg muscles, which pumps blood through the veins and back to the heart. It may not prevent varicose veins, but exercise has been proven to lessen the symptoms.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight is unhealthy for a number of reasons. Most people who carry around extra weight aren’t very active, and less activity means your leg muscles don’t get the proper circulation. Less circulation in the legs means a higher chance of blood pooling in the leg veins.
Take a Break from Standing
When you stand up for long periods of time, your leg veins have a much harder time pumping blood back up to your heart. As a result, the blood tends to pool in the lower leg veins, which can lead to the development of varicose veins.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet can give you the nutrients your body needs to prevent varicose veins. A balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and lean meats is a great way to get the right amount of nutrients that will strengthen your vascular system. Foods rich in vitamin C and protein both contain components of collagen, which makes tissues more resilient.
When to Seek Treatment
Varicose veins are usually not a sign of a serious problem, however, in some cases they can be a sign of blockage in deeper veins, called deep vein thrombosis. If you notice any unusual leg veins, seek the opinion of Dr. Chris Brennig, an experienced vascular surgeon and the founder of the Austin Vein Institute. Dr. Brennig is dedicated exclusively to the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of vein conditions, including varicose veins. Contact the Austin Vein Institute today to schedule a one-on-one session with Dr. Brennig.