Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged, and painful veins that usually occur in the legs and appear blue or dark purple. They are also sometimes twisted, lumpy, or bulging.
According to the National Health Institute, there isn't enough evidence suggesting that people can completely prevent new varicose veins from developing. However, if you have existing varicose veins, there are effective measures you can take to manage the condition and avoid exacerbating the problem. Listed below are three preventive steps recommended by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Standing or sitting in the same position for long periods adds stress to the veins in the legs. Move around every 30 minutes, and take regular breaks throughout the day to reduce the pressure on your veins. If your work involves hours of standing, try to sit down for several minutes every once in a while with your feet alternately propped up on a stool. If you have a desk job, it helps to walk around for at least one minute per hour to allow the legs to pump blood back to the heart.
Avoid crossing your legs while seated, as it squeezes the veins and obstructs proper blood flow. It's also beneficial to elevate the legs while sitting or lying down, keeping them raised above the heart. Raise your legs on pillows while resting to alleviate pain or discomfort. Furthermore, make it a habit to stop for a short walk every 30 minutes when driving for hours. During lengthy plane trips, it's a good idea to walk up and down the aisle every half an hour.
Maintaining a regular exercise regimen is another way to prevent varicose veins from aggravating. Exercise helps relieve symptoms and slows the progression of varicose veins by increasing blood flow in the affected area. It's important to stay active and get lots of regular physical activity to strengthen the muscles in the legs and improve circulation.
Walk or take a stroll for several minutes whenever you can, whether you're at home or in the office. Doctors also recommend swimming, which is an ideal exercise for people with varicose veins, because it keeps the legs at heart level and prevents blood from pooling in the legs. While sitting down, you may rotate your feet at the ankles, making small circles in both directions. Additionally, bend the legs back and forth at the knees. WebMD states that high-impact exercises, such as running, are not advisable as they may cause discomfort.
WebMD recommends wearing compression stockings at daytime to manage varicose veins and reduce symptoms. These stockings boost circulation and relieve swelling and aching. They usually fit tightly at the foot and slowly loosen when worn higher on the leg. Women are advised to use regular support pantyhose, knee socks, or knee-highs. Special compression stockings prescribed by a health care professional may help relieve severe symptoms.
These are some of the most effective measures to delay the progress of varicose veins and prevent bleeding, sores, and other complications. Follow these tips and maintain an active lifestyle to avoid the need for surgical treatment for varicose veins.