One of the problems for many women and about 15% of men is varicose veins in the legs. In this disease, the vessels in the legs (veins), which return blood rich in carbon dioxide and metabolic wastes, become deformed, dilate, lose tone, and appear under the skin.
In addition to cosmetic defects, changes in the structure of the veins and impaired blood circulation lead to unpleasant sensations in the legs and even pain, edema and a feeling of heaviness. Although there are various medical tools and procedures that help with treatment, it is important from the start, as soon as the first signs of varicose veins appear, to engage in prevention - this will help to avoid pain, swelling, tired legs, external cosmetic blemishes.
What's the problem?
Varicose veins, usually called varicose veins, are severe changes in the vein wall, its weakness, excessive stretching, due to which dark blue or purple twisted swollen veins appear under the skin. At the initial stage, small "stars" from dilated capillaries, small crowns, then larger ones may appear.
Veins have a special structure: in addition to the elastic wall, they also have small valves (pockets) that prevent blood from flowing in the opposite direction. Varicose veins are formed when the valves on the walls of the veins weaken, stretch, warp, and do not close completely. Excessive stretching of the walls and valve defects ultimately lead to the fact that blood circulates more poorly through the vessels, its movement slows down and even stops. First, small veins appear in the form of "stars" or spider legs, then thicker twisted veins appear.
Other symptoms of varicose veins can be manifested by:
- burning calf, throbbing sensation;
- discomfort in the legs, feeling of heaviness or pain;
- muscle spasms, cramps, more noticeable at night;
- swelling of the feet and ankles;
- dry or itchy, pale skin that looks thinner than healthy skin
If there is a tendency for varicose veins or the first symptoms appear, there are a number of procedures that eliminate discomfort and pain in the legs, help improve blood circulation and tone the veins.
Exercise and physical activity
Regular exercise improves blood circulation in the legs. Muscle contraction helps push the blood that has collected in the veins out. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, which is another negative factor that contributes to varicose veins.
Low intensity exercise helps the calf muscles to contract. They operate without undue stress.
Effective low impact exercises include:
Compression stockings and tights
Compression stockings are available in most pharmacies and orthopedic stores. They distribute the pressure on the legs, pressing the walls of the veins from the outside. It helps to deliver blood to the heart and relieve blood congestion in the lower limbs. The study found that people who used knee-length compression stockings maintained pressure between 18 and 21 mmHg. within a week, noted a reduction in pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins. It is important to choose stockings and tights with a doctor or salon specialist so as not to be mistaken about the degree of compression.
Studies have shown that horse chestnut extract may help reduce leg pain, heaviness and itchy skin in people with chronic venous insufficiency (this is oneof the main causes of varicose veins).
A review study reported that sea pine extract and butcher's broom extract can reduce swelling or edema in the legs, often associated with varicose veins.
Plant extracts and essential oils should be diluted before being applied to the skin or used in an aromatherapy diffuser.
Foods that are salty or high in sodium contribute to swelling, including in the feet and ankles, so reducing salty foods can minimize water retention. Foods high in potassium such as almonds and pistachios help in the prevention and treatment of varicose veins by reducing water retention in the body. This group includes:
- almonds and pistachios;
- lentils and white beans;
- leafy vegetables;
- certain types of fish, such as salmon and tuna.
Foods high in fiber help maintain bowel function and prevent constipation. This can be important, as stress can damage valves or cause blood to clog in the veins. Foods high in fiber include:
- nuts, seeds and legumes;
- oats, wheat and flax;
- whole grain.
Overweight people are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, so losing extra pounds can reduce pressure on the veins, reduce swelling and discomfort.
Flavonoids in food
Adding foods containing flavonoids to the diet also helps reduce the risk of varicose veins. Flavonoids, which are biologically active substances, improve blood circulation, maintain uniform blood flow, and reduce the risk of blood pooling in the veins. They also help lower blood pressure in the arteries and relax blood vessels, reducing stress on the veins and reducing the risk of varicose veins.
Foods containing flavonoids include:
- vegetables: green onions, peppers, spinach and broccoli;
- citrus and grapes, cherries, apples and blueberries;
Certain herbal preparations help to tone the veins and reduce their strain. It is believed that taking grape seed extract may reduce swelling in the legs and other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, although there is currently little evidence of its effectiveness. If you drink blood thinners, you should avoid taking grape seed extract as a dietary supplement as it can interact with the medication and increase the risk of bleeding.
Choosing the right clothes
Wearing tight, tight, synthetic clothing can restrict blood flow to your legs. Wearing loose, breathable clothing that does not restrict blood supply to the lower body improves blood flow through the veins and decreases valve deformity.
It is also forbidden to wear tight and tight shoes. Shoes with narrow toes put pressure on the blood vessels and cause pain. It is recommended to choose shoes with orthopedic insoles.
Wearing shoes with low heels or with a comfortable, stable sole in place of high heels can also help relieve pain from varicose veins in the legs.
Need to lift legs more often
Periodically raising the legs upward, ideally at the same height as the heart, or higher, helps improve circulation. This reduces the pressure in the veins in the legs and gravity helps the blood flow smoothly back to the heart. You should try to lift your legs if you intend to sit for long periods of time, such as when working or resting.
A light massage of the feet, legs and thighs can keep the blood in your veins. You can use mild massage oils or moisturizer for optimal results. However, it is extremely important to avoid pressure directly on the veins, as this can damage delicate tissue. No less useful massage with jets of water in the shower, including one of contrast.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you have to sit at work for a long period of time, you should make an effort to get up and move around, or at least change your position often so that all the blood flows through the veins from the legs.
Avoid sitting cross-legged as this can further restrict blood flow to the legs and feet and worsen circulatory problems.
Varicose vein treatment procedures
If home preventative measures have not improved the condition of your veins, severe discomfort, pain, and swelling occur, medical treatment is needed to remove varicose veins.
The doctor may prescribe the following:
- Endothermic ablation.This is a procedure in which heat is applied to seal the affected veins;
- Ambulatory phlebectomyThe doctor pierces the skin and removes the varicose veins through small incisions. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, hardly any scar remains;
- Sclerotherapy.This procedure uses a special foam to close damaged veins. Blood will flow through the bypass venous system;
- Ligation and removal.In this procedure, varicose veins are surgically removed;
- Laser operations.Intense bursts of light are directed at the vein, causing it to disappear;
- Endoscopic surgery.During this operation, a tiny video camera is inserted into the leg to help the surgeon see better what is going on in the veins. The veins are removed through several small incisions.
Varicose veins cause discomfort and cosmetic blemishes. Prevention of varicose veins at home is possible, and changes in diet and lifestyle can reduce unpleasant symptoms. But as the disease progresses, you need to see a doctor to remove any visible defects and heal the veins themselves.