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Category: Varicose Veins

These are the best (And Worst) Exercises if you have Varicose Veins

In general, exercising is good for your health. But when vein disease gives you  varicose veins, some exercises can hurt your condition. Read on for our ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of exercising with varicose veins.

The Best Exercises for Varicose Vein Sufferers

First things first: if you have vein disease, talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs. Once you’re cleared for activity, our Houston area vein specialists recommend starting with low-impact workouts like walking, bicycling or swimming.

Why are these great choices? We like vein disease sufferers to use their legs. When you do, you strengthen those muscles, making them contract harder  and helping push blood out of your legs and back up to your heart.

In other words, stronger calf muscles make for better circulation. And that means you’re likely to experience pooling blood and other complications associated with venous insufficiency.

And, in addition to circulatory benefits, you can expect to see other positive effects:  your will likely lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels and keep your blood pressure down, helping improve your vein health—and keeping the rest of your body in tip-top shape.

What Workouts Should I Avoid if I have Varicose Veins?

When you have varicose veins, some workouts might actually worsen your condition. We tell our patients to avoid exercises that like lifting weights, squatting, or even some yoga poses. Anything that increases pressure on your abdomen and lower body is not recommended, since it can reduce or stop the amount of blood flowing from your legs back to your heart. That, in turn, may allow blood to pool in your legs, causing your veins to stretch out and, possibly, fail.

It’s also important to know that high impact exercises, such as running and jogging, may cause your varicose veins to swell more, although wearing compression stockings and sticking to soft training surfaces can help lessen the impact of this form of exercise.

When Should I Treat my Varicose Veins?

Contrary to what you may have heard, varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic concern. They are a sign that something has gone seriously wrong within your circulatory system. For that reason, you should see a vein specialist as soon as you notice a vein that’s getting darker or sticking out above the profile of your skin. The earlier we catch and treat varicose veins, the less likely it is that your vein disease will be able to progress.

 

Warning: Spanx could be Killing your Veins

Raise your hand if you’ve ever squeezed into shapewear so that little black dress fit just a bit better.  So many of us have, and why not? It seems like a foolproof way to look our best without having to suffer through hours at the gym or weeks of deprivation. But there is a catch: spending too much time in restrictive shape wear can actually take a toll on your body.

How Compressing Shape Wear Harms Your Health

After a few hours in Spanx or other compressive garments, you may start to experience:

Tingling and Numbness

Since shapewear has to put a lot of pressure on your midsection to keep your rolls in check, it also restricts circulation to your lower body. Over time, if you wear these garments frequently, you may develop a condition called meralgia paresthetica, with symptoms like numbness, pain, and tingling in your legs and feet.

Varicose Veins or Blood Clots

Unfortunately, compression garments can also affect your vein health. When your midsection is on lock down, it’s tough for blood to get down to your legs and feet (see above.) But it’s also tough for the blood already in your lower extremities to get back up to your heart when it has to pass through the compression zone. That means blood can pool in your lower body, putting pressure on your veins until they bulge and become visible through your skin (spider veins.)  With repetitive wears, the damage to your veins may be cumulative, and may even increase your risk of blood clots, since varicose veins are a risk factor for DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs.)

 

Stay Safe and Smooth with Shapewear

Now, we know how great your shapewear is, so we’re not telling you to throw it out the window. Instead, we’re suggesting caution. Don’t wear compressive garments all day, every day: instead, leave them for special events with limited hours. And when you are wearing them, give your circulatory system and veins a little help by taking walking breaks: the movement will get your leg muscles pumping, which can help get blood flowing into and out of your legs.

5 Easy Ways To Prevent Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are unsightly, and they can make your legs throb and ache. They typically appear on your legs due to force of gravity and the pressure of our body weight. Our leg veins have the job of moving blood from the bottom of our body up to the heart, and if the valves in those veins malfunction or become weakened, they don’t do their job efficiently. As a result blood can pool in our legs, and the veins become stretched and may leak or protrude.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. Try incorporating one (or more) of these habits into your daily routine to enjoy maximum protection!

You don’t need to start a major lifting program. Even moderate exercise can help prevent varicose veins!

Get Some Moderate Exercise

Walking, biking, and swimming are excellent ways to improve circulation, especially in the legs. You don’t have to join a gym and lift weights to prevent varicose veins from forming. Even 20 minutes of walking, just twice a week, will make a difference in your leg strength and reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.

Change Up Your Diet

If you are really serious about preventing varicose veins, it’s time to make some changes at each meal. You don’t have to go on a drastic diet, just make adjustments like reducing your salt intake and adding in some high fiber foods. Swap white breads and pastas for whole wheat options. The fiber will help minimize constipation, which can contribute to the development of varicose veins, and lower sodium levels will help reduce swelling in the body. Discontinue or reduce processed sugar products as sugar puts stress on your vascular system.

Fresh fruits like blackberries, apples, apricots and grapes are especially healthy choices. You may also want to consider taking a Vitamin E supplement to help prevent blood clots.

Check Your Wardrobe

Women are 50% more likely to develop varicose veins than men, so they must be especially cautious when it comes to clothing choices. Here are a few ways you can prevent your clothes from impacting your vein health:

  • Stash the high heels, except for short periods of time.
  • Wear flats or low heels whenever possible to stimulate your calf muscles and improve blood flow.
  • Buy compression hosiery to squeeze the legs and encourage blood to move more efficiently. Not only do they help to decrease discomfort and swelling, and help prevent or slow down the development of varicose veins, they also now come in tons of cute colors and patterns to match your individual style!
  • Avoid tight clothing, especially at the waist, groin, and legs. Skinny jeans and heels might need to be relegated to special occasions if you’re hoping to prevent varicose veins.

Keep Moving

If you sit at a desk all day for work, get up and move regularly. If you stand while you work, shift your weight from one leg to the other. Sitting or standing too long in one position can encourage blood pooling in the legs. Flex and bend your legs regularly to keep the blood circulating.

Other Daily Habits That Prevent Varicose Veins

Sit up straight and void crossing your legs, especially for long periods of time. The National Heart and Lung Institute says that sitting at a desk or anywhere with poor posture, like leaning your head forward (as many do), increases the risk for varicose veins, and many believe that leg crossing is a risk factor for developing varicose veins.

Elevate your legs above your heart when you return home at night, or several times a day if you are more sedentary. Use a few pillows or a larger stuffed object.

And remember: not all varicose veins can be prevented, but you can certainly reduce your chances of developing new ones or making existing veins worse in appearance.

 

Varicose Veins & Pregnancy: What to Do (and Why You Shouldn’t Worry)

Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

When you first get pregnant, people will prepare you for a lot of things. From nausea and cravings to fatigue and mood swings, chances are you probably think you’ve heard it all. If only that were true.

For as many as 70% of expectant mothers, varicose veins can come as a somewhat frightening surprise. After all, the last thing you want to see during your pregnancy are unexpected (and unwanted) surprises on your body! However, there’s no need to worry: while varicose veins may be uncomfortable, they are not dangerous for you or your pregnancy. Learn more about what causes varicose veins during pregnancy, and what you can do to solve the problem safely.

Where Do Varicose Veins Come from?

Varicose veins around the legs, breasts, rectum, and vulva are a very common side effect of pregnancy. Because it now has another being to support, your body produces more blood during pregnancy, which can result in added pressure on your blood vessels. This effect is particularly pronounced near your lower body, as your legs are responsible for working against gravity to deliver the extra blood to your heart. This blood also moves more slowly than normal, increasing the pressure placed on the veins and causing them to bulge. In addition to bulging veins, the extra blood has been known to cause hemorrhoids and swollen vulva. Increased production of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy is also a contributing factor to the development of varicose veins.

What You Can Do About Varicose Veins

While your varicose veins pose no risk to you or your child during pregnancy, they are unsightly and can be somewhat painful. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe, all-natural options for alleviating discomfort until they recede naturally.

  • Elevate Your Legs: When you have some time to lie down and relax, try to elevate your legs above your heart for about 15 minutes. This will help the blood recirculate appropriately, and is most effective if done at least three or four times a day. To maintain results, consider wearing compression stockings during the day.
  • Stay Mobile: While being pregnant can zap your energy, staying active is essential to preventing and alleviating varicose veins. Hardcore gym trips aren’t necessary; simply work in a few walks or some light cardio each day to promote stronger circulation during pregnancy.
  • Sleep On Your Left Side: While it might take some getting used to, sleeping on your left side comes with a number of health benefits, including the reduction of varicose veins and an increase in blood flow to the fetus. Sleeping on your left side reduces the amount of pressure put on the vena cava, your body’s largest vein, which is located on the right side of your body.
  • Take Your Vitamins: A healthy diet rich in vitamin C can work wonders for improving vein health during pregnancy, by providing your body with the tools it needs to generate collagen and repair damaged blood vessels.

“I’ve Given Birth, but My Varicose Veins Won’t Go Away!”

In most cases, varicose veins fade on their own once pregnancy has ended…but sometimes, that just isn’t the case. While surgical vein treatments are not safe during pregnancy, they could be your best option for removing varicose veins after you’ve welcomed your child.

If you’re ready to fight back against varicose veins, Texas Endovascular offers a number of varicose treatment options to ensure that you receive the right results for your exact needs. Our procedures are minimally invasive, require only local anesthesia, and can be performed conveniently in-office. Discover what Texas Endovascular can do for your post-pregnancy body, and schedule your consultation today.

Surprise: Men Can Treat Varicose Veins, Too!

You know how people always say that men make the worst patient? Turns out, that may actually be true! Statistically, men are less likely than women to seek treatment for what they perceive as minor health issues. And, since many people think of varicose veins as a simple cosmetic problem, men are unlikely to seek medical attention for these bulging veins.

This thinking could be problematic, however, since varicose veins aren’t just ugly: they can be a sign of more serious medical conditions like chronic venous disease (CVD).  For that reason, vein-related health issues should not be taken lightly or dismissed as cosmetic problems. If left untreated, they can actually cause life-threatening health complications.

Varicose Veins are not a Gender Issue

Varicose veins affect men and women of all ages–while older individuals are more susceptible, they can develop at any age. Varicose veins occur when blood pools in the veins of your lower extremities, causing them to stretch out. Over time, the veins stop returning to their normal size, leaving them swollen and bumpy enough to be visible through your skin. As the condition progresses, the veins can become so swollen that valves restricting blood flow no longer meet to close completely, and blood is allowed to flow back through them in the wrong direction.

As mentioned above, varicose veins are more common in seniors, due to the loss of tissue and muscle mass and weakening of venous walls that naturally occurs with age, but they can strike at any age, and are very common in men. In fact, approximately 45 percent of men will have varicose veins at some point in their life.

men

The likelihood of developing varicose veins is higher if you have a family history of vein-related health issues. Standing for long periods during the day and sitting for too long also increases the risk of varicose veins. Symptoms of chronic venous disease include heaviness, pain, cramps, and swelling in the legs, and can be a major hindrance to daily activities.

Health Risks of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are often the first sign of a serious, progressive condition called venous disease. Varicose veins can progress to cause swelling in the legs and hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) in the ankle area, caused by blood pooling in the veins. When this occurs, it is not unusual to develop painful, debilitating ulcers in the skin above the ankles on the inside of the leg.

Varicose veins also put you at risk for blood clots, ulcers, and other painful and dangerous conditions. When blood pools in the legs as a result of varicose veins, it can easily develop into phlebitis, a superficial but painful blood clot that is not usually life threatening. However, if left untreated, phlebitis can worsen and grow into deep veins, where pieces of the clot may break off and move through the blood stream. Traveling bits of blood clots may become lodged in the lungs and cause a life-threatening blockage called a pulmonary embolism.

While a greater percentage of women get varicose veins than men, men often develop more severe cases. This is largely because men frequently ignore the signs of vein problems until they experience significant discomfort, while women are more likely to seek treatment before dangerous complications have a chance to arise.

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are usually easy to treat, especially if we catch them early.

For minor cases, wearing compression socks is often enough to keep blood from pooling in the veins and keep it moving back to the heart. Physical activity should be performed regularly to improve blood flow, and it may be necessary to reduce the sodium in your diet to prevent a relapse. Men who have started noticing signs of varicose veins should consult a doctor right away while treatment is still as simple as switching to a different type of socks.

In more severe cases of varicose veins, it may be necessary to have veins treated with lasers in a process called laser ablation. In this quick outpatient procedure, energy is applied through a laser fiber inserted into the vein to collapse and seal it shut, which causes blood to be diverted into healthy veins nearby instead. The procedure is generally painless and takes about thirty minutes. Afterward you can return to work and resume normal activities almost immediately.

So listen up guys: if you suspect you may have varicose veins or venous disease, contact Texas Endovascular today to schedule an appointment. Don’t push off a consult: if you wait until your varicose veins progress, you may find yourself dealing with a more serious, potentially life-threatening condition.

What is CVD?

CVD (Chronic venous disease,  also known as chronic venous insufficiency) refers to several vein problems, all of which are chronic. If you have CVD, you may develop varicose veins, spider veins, and/or ulcers on your lower legs. CVD occurs when the veins in your legs become unable to return blood to your central circulatory system or heart. Without proper treatment, CVD will likely get worse, leading to pain, damage to your legs, and other medical issues such as blood clots. It’s important to know the risk factors and warning signs of CVD so you can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan before the condition progresses.   

What is My Risk Factor for Chronic Venous Disease? 

Unfortunately, just getting older puts you at higher risk for CVD. As the body ages, the stress on the valves of the veins increases, which can prevent your blood from flowing from the lower extremities to the heart.

Gender is also another risk factor: women get CVD more frequently than men. Hormone replacement therapy, and hormonal birth control can contribute to the risk of CVD, as can the hormonal changes and physical stress that occurs during pregnancy. Genetics are also a risk factor, as people with a family history of varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other vascular diseases are more likely to develop CVD.

Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle that includes long periods of standing or sitting, and lack of physical activity in general can also contribute to your risk for CVD. Staying active will help improve your circulation and keep your body better supplied with oxygen.

What are the Symptoms of CVD?

If you experience any of the following symptoms or have chronic or debilitating leg pain, it is best to seek evaluation and discuss treatment options with a medical professional as soon as possible. Left untreated, these symptoms could worsen, causing more pain or even more serious medical conditions.

  • Leg aches and pains
  • Leg cramping and night gramps
  • Tired or heavy legs
  • Restless legs
  • Rashes, skin darkening, or patches of dry itchy skin on the leg
  • Burning or itching veins in lower extremities
  • Ulcers on the leg that are slow to heal
  • Restless legs
  • Blue, bulging twisted veins (varicose veins or spider veins)
  • Recurrent cellulitis
  • Swollen or tight-feeling ankles
  • Lymphedema (a build-up of fluid underneath the skin)
  • Spontaneous bleeding

Texas Endovascular provides several treatment options for patients with chronic venous disease. Contact us to schedule a consultation if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Treatment Options for Chronic Venous Disease  

Early detection and treatment can decrease pain of CVD and reduce the risk of developing additional, more serious medical complications.

Detection and diagnosis of chronic venous disease, as well as arterial disease and blood clots, is done with a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation. This technology enables a sonographer to see inside the body and locate both superficial and deep varicose veins.

We offer wide variety of treatment options for chronic venous disease, including:

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

RFA involves inserting a catheter into the abnormal vein and using heat energy to close it. The procedure takes less than an hour, requires only a local anesthetic and leaves no scar.

Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is often used to close any residual, non-bulging varicose veins after radiofrequency ablation. The procedure uses ultrasound to access a vein. Using a small needle, a medication combined with carbon dioxide gas is injected into the abnormal vein to close it. The procedure is quick, and patients are able to resume their daily activities immediately afterward. Anti-inflammatory medications and compression stockings may be used to help manage any discomfort following RFA and ultrasound sclerotherapy.

Our additional treatment options for eliminating bulging and spider veins caused by CVD include:

  • Cosmetic sclerotherapy
  • Radiofrequency perforator ablation
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy

Varicose Vein Help in Texas

Dr. William C. Fox and Dr. Eric Hardee of Texas Endovascular specialize in treating patients with chronic venous disease using state-of-the-art technology and minimally invasive procedures. The results provide quick relief from the symptoms of CVD, and patients are typically able to resume their normal, day-to-day activities immediately following treatment.

If you are experiencing symptoms of CVD, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact our expert physicians today to schedule a consultation.

What You Should Know About Spider Veins (Even If You Are Young)

If you have been distressed recently and noticed the appearance of little red and blue lines on your legs, don’t panic. Yes, you are young, healthy, and quite fit, so why would you see those “old lady” spider veins?

You may not like how they look, but the fact is they are really nothing to become upset about, and they happen to be quite normal. With that said, there are some facts you should know about spider veins even if you are young.

Continue reading “What You Should Know About Spider Veins (Even If You Are Young)”

Learn the Warning Signs of Varicose Veins

As with other forms of illness, vein disease is best treated when caught in the early stages of development. In order to do this, however, you need to know who is at risk of developing spider veins and what the problem looks like at its Varicoseonset.

Varicose Vein Risk Factors
While anyone can develop varicose veins at any time, certain factors may elevate your risk and likelihood of developing this problem (which is caused, typically by faulty valves that affect the ability of your blood to flow back towards your heart, leaving it to pool in veins that then stretch out over time.) Predisposing factors include:

– Family history
– Sedentary lifestyle
– Carrying extra weight
– Constricting foot wear/high heels
– Pregnancy
Any of these factors can contribute to your likelihood of developing varicose veins. If you have one or more risk factors, it is even more important for you to look out for the earliest warning signs that indicate your veins have been damaged.

Initial Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In order to detect vein disease, you have to actually look at your veins on a somewhat regular basis. People with dark, more visible veins are often more likely to develop a problem.  Individuals whose feet are swollen at the end of the day are also at risk of developing varicose veins, and should talk to their doctors immediately if this symptom persists beyond a day or two.

Light red spots may also appear on your lower legs before the tell-tale swelling and bulging of varicose veins actually appears. These spots may be a sign of a burst blood vessel, or other forms of venous insufficiency. Other symptoms may also include:

– peeling or itching skin
– an unnatural shine on your legs
– unnatural coloring on pigmentation on the surface of the skin

Any one of these symptoms should be sufficient cause for you to undergo a diagnostic vein scan, but in combination, multiple warning signs should send you to your vein doctor immediately.

Of course, varicose veins can also develop without any warning from initial symptoms. Because of this fact, it’s important to undergo regular vein health check-ups, especially if you know that your risk for vein disease is elevated in any way. Just remember, the earlier you catch a vein problem, the simpler it will be to resolve your symptoms. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what everyone wants?

The Best Exercises for Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins Exercise

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged or stretched out due to blood that pools in the legs. In addition to making your veins bulge, they can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tired, Achy Legs
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Nighttime Leg Cramps
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Ulcers or Sores

Since varicose veins are primarily caused by inactivity in the legs over a long period of time, getting out there and doing some exercises can help prevent and alleviate the symptoms associated with varicose veins.

How Does Exercise Help Prevent Varicose Veins?

While there’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins, regular exercise can help reduce the chances that you’ll get them. Simply changing your sitting or standing position regularly can improve your blood circulation, which helps reduce the amount of blood swelling the veins in your legs.

Exercise can increase your body’s ability to pump blood up the leg back toward the heart. It also helps keep your weight down, which further decreases your chances of getting varicose veins. Walking is a good choice, as are low-impact activities, such as swimming and biking.

What Exercises Prevent Varicose Veins?

If you already have varicose veins, exercise can keep them from getting worse and also help alleviate pain and discomfort. Generally, low-impact exercises are best, and include the following:

Walking or Running

Walking just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can yield good benefits. If you run, try to find a grassy surface or synthetic track to minimize the stress on your joints.

Leg Lifts

Sit or lie on your back while sticking your feet straight out. Lift one leg at a time up, holding it in the air. Slowly lower it down and repeat with the other leg.

Bicycling or Bicycle Legs

Riding a bike or stationary bike is also helpful. If you don’t have access to any kind of bike, you can try this bicycle legs exercise. While lying on your back, put your legs in the air, bending them at the knee. Pedal them slowly as if you are bicycling. Try both legs at once, or alternate one at a time.

Lunges

Stand with your legs apart. Step forward slowly, bending your knee and making sure to keep your knee directly above your ankle. Hold it, then slowly straighten your leg and step back to your original position. Repeat with the other leg. While standing with your legs straight, rise up on your tiptoes and then lower back down. Repeat.

Rocking Your Feet

While you’re sitting or standing, rock your feet back and forth from heel to toe. This can be done at any time and is also helpful if health conditions prevent you from trying other forms of exercise.

Seek Varicose Vein Treatment

Exercise can be helpful when dealing with varicose veins, but you may also need treatment to achieve better results. Texas Endovascular offers minimally invasive, in-office procedures that don’t require general anesthesia or sedation. Several different treatment options are available for varicose veins, and each requires little or no recovery time. In fact, most patients are able to return to work the same day. We’ll choose the procedure that will yield the best results in your particular case, improving your comfort level as well as appearance.

Contact Texas Endovascular at (713) 575-3686 today for more information about the best exercises and treatments for varicose veins and to schedule an appointment!