One day you wake up and notice an uncomfortable sensation on your leg. Your hand reaches down and you feel a puffy, entwined vein bulging out. It’s big, it’s hideous, and it’s incredibly noticeable. Welcome to the world of varicose veins.
Though your heart may drop and you may feel the urge to hop on your computer to diagnose yourself, thinking you have some life-threatening condition, have no fear. Varicose veins are mostly a cosmetic problem, and in fact, half of the population over the age of 50 in the United States suffers from some form of venous disease. Of those affected, 55% of women and 45% of men have varicose veins at 50. However, there are more serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis which causes varicose veins and is a serious condition. Better go to your doctor and get checked, so you can cross that one off your list and relax.
With age, the elasticity in our veins begins to dissipate. Our body no longer pumps blood back to the heart against gravity with the same strength that it used to. The valves in our veins which block the blood from trickling back down to our lower extremities don’t perform properly, and blood pools at the bottom of our legs. The veins are filled with blood, they expand, and all of a sudden they are extremely apparent.
This is the process in which varicose veins appear, yet, the actual origin of the condition is unknown. Specialists have attributed it to heredity, or different forms of extended pressure on the legs such as standing for long periods of time, pregnancy, and obesity. After they develop, common symptoms of varicose veins include pain, discomfort and swelling and itchiness in the affected area. In other cases, restless leg syndrome has also been reported.
Once you head over to your doctor, the condition will quickly be diagnosed by means of a standard physical check up, or Duplex Ultrasound. What follows is an explanation of the variety of treatments readily available to fix the issue. Doctors will always recommend lifestyle changes such as more exercise and a better diet first and foremost. Many patients also prefer noninvasive procedures such as sclerotherapy, compression stockings and laser treatment as an immediate substitute.
Although the following methods are effective and proven to work, it’s important to note that there are various natural remedies to treat varicose veins nowadays. Now, let’s check out some of the best ways to deal with varicose veins:
- LEG EXERCISES
Exercising is one of the primary forms of maintaining proper cardiovascular health. As such, a common recommendation for battling varicose veins is to stay active. More specifically, working leg muscles is important because they aid in the blood flow process. Leg muscles contract and in accordance with veins, blood circulates to the upper part of the body. If patients suffer pain from their varicose veins; then high impact activities such as running should be avoided. Low impact exercises such as leg lifts, bicycle lifts, calf raises and side lunges have been proven to reduce varicose veins.
- BETTER DIET
Visiting a nutritionist is a great way to inform yourself on all the possibilities of tweaking your diet to fight varicose veins. Among the changes are calorie intake reduction, drinking lots of water, and an increase in foods that contain lots of fiber and Vitamin C. Also, B Vitamins such as B6, B9 and B12 are effective.
When losing weight by reducing the amount of calories you ingest, it’s important to remember that a significant cut in calories may result in losing too much weight, and in turn becomes detrimental to vein health. Citrus fruits, kiwi and brussel sprouts are a great source of Vitamin C. As for Vitamin B, consider eating more chicken, egg, fish, bananas and avocados.
- COMPRESSION STOCKINGS
Doctors frequently recommend compression stockings, as the method has been around for a long time and has been proven to effectively fight back against varicose veins. They facilitate circulation in the legs by means of a stocking that fits tightly around the foot and ankle, and gradually loosens further up the leg. Depending on how active you are, there are different compression levels available to suit your needs.
If you feel the need to get rid of varicose veins as quickly as possible, then Sclerotherapy is considered to be one of the most successful treatments available. The affected vein is injected with a sclerosing substance which is agitated with air to resemble the texture of watered down shaving cream. The substance expands within the vein and breaks apart its lining. Once the vein is completely damaged, the body naturally absorbs it and reroutes the blood flow naturally on its own.
The procedure takes about 10 minutes, after which the patient must wear bandages or compression stockings for about two weeks. During that time, they are encouraged to walk a lot. Keep in mind that some cases may need more than one session for the removal of the vein.
- LASER TREATMENT
The development of laser treatment is one of the most advanced methods available, and best of all, it is virtually painless. There are treatment centers such as Varicose vein removal Whittier which offer this form of treatment. A focused beam of light or laser is aimed above the skin at the affected vein, which causes it to develop scar tissue. Once the scar tissue has formed, it blocks the vein from continuing to circulate blood, and similarly to sclerotherapy; the vein is absorbed by the body with the same result.
Due to the pain and discomfort some people may experience, it’s easy to understand why people want to get rid of varicose veins as soon as possible. Sclerotherapy and laser treatment are safe and cost effective, however it’s would be a good idea to look into natural ways of making them disappear.
Do you have any effective treatments you’ve heard of or discovered for varicose veins? Please post your own list below!
Luca Tofan is a Canadian freelance writer living in Colombia. He likes to write about a variety of topics including travel, health, lifestyle and business.