Tag: lifestyle changes

How to Improve Circulation and 6 Signs You Need to Do It

Sometimes, you just need some help to boost circulation. You may know that poor circulation can put your vein health at risk. But would you know if your circulation was already compromised? As it turns out, there are several early symptoms that you’ll notice when your circulation first becomes compromised. And we’re here to help you identify those warnings signs, so you can see your vein specialist and get help to boost circulation right away.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

When your circulation is sluggish, or not working as well as it should, you may notice that:

·         Your hands and feet are often cold, or even numb

·        Muscle cramps pop up, especially in your legs

·         You experience tingling, throbbing or stinging leg pain

·         There’s a blue tint to the skin on your legs

·         The hair on your legs and feet may fall out

·        Nails get brittle and skin is dry

When your circulation is compromised, your metabolism may slow down. And that means you may gain weight, even if your diet and exercise routine remains the same.

Now you know some of the warning signs of poor circulation, let’s explore what causes those problems, and learn  how you can give your circulatory system a boost.

What Causes Poor Circulation? spider veins on legs

Many different issues can compromise your circulation. But certain conditions will almost certainly impact your blood flow. We’ll take a look at the three worst offenders.

  • Varicose veins

    These bulging veins usually develop when your internal valves malfunction.  That failure keeps blood from flowing up and out of your legs, towards your heart. It’s an obvious cause and symptom of poor circulation.

  • Diabetes

    As your blood sugar levels are high, you can develop clogs in your blood vessel. This, in turn, will impact your circulation.

  • Obesity

    Indirectly, carrying extra weight makes movement more challenging. And when movement is challenging, you become more sedentary, which can decrease your circulation. Extra pounds also put more pressure on your legs—and the veins inside them—increasing your risk of varicose veins.

So, now you’ve seen some of the issues that can make problems for your circulatory system, let’s figure out how to boost your circulation!

How to Improve Circulation

The most important way to protect your circulation is to live a healthy lifestyle. And that includes dropping your nicotine habit if you smoke or vape. Why is that so crucial? Nicotine hits your circulatory system with a two-part punch: first, it thickens your blood, which slows down its flow. Plus, it causes your blood vessels to narrow, which makes it even more difficult for blood to circulate through your body.

Of course, not smoking is important, but on its own, this step won’t completely protect you from circulatory problems. You should also strive to maintain a healthy blood pressure—have your levels checked regularly by your doctor, and strive to maintain a reading of 120 over 80 (or lower.) If you aren’t in that optimal range, discuss ways of lowering your pressure with your healthcare provider.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Circulation

Certain lifestyle habits can also help improve your circulation—especially good hydration. Since your blood is about half water, staying hydrated helps keep it flowing through your body. It’s also important to move frequently throughout your day. Sitting or standing in one spot for extended periods of time takes a major toll on your circulation. Simply taking more walking breaks can do wonders, but consider stepping up your aerobic exercise by incorporating regular 30 minute sessions into your weekly routine. Swimming and biking are great, low-impact options.

And here’s a great (and relaxing) way to boost circulation: get a massage! With a medically-approved massage, gentle rubbing in areas where your blood pools could boost circulation. Thanks to moderate pressure, that blood may get moving, and that could improve circulation to the rest of your body.

Circulation Boosting Diet and Gear

Your diet matters, too, when it comes to circulation. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, and carefully monitor (and limit) your salt intake. You should also limit (or avoid) the saturated fats found in many cheeses and animal proteins, as they can lead to fatty build-ups in your arteries, which will further hamper circulation. Try adding green tea to your diet if you need to boost circulation. As few as two cups a day could relax your blood vessels. This could, in turn, widen them and help boost circulation and blood flow.

And, finally, if circulation problems are already seriously impacting your health, you may want to avoid tight clothing such as Spanx or skinny jeans. Additionally, you may want to begin compression therapy. This sounds scarier than it actually is. In fact, this form of therapy involves the regular wearing of compression stockings. These simple pieces of clothing (which now come in a variety of styles and colors) put a little pressure on your legs to help get blood out of the area and back up to your heart.  This can improve your circulation and limit many of the symptoms associated with circulatory problems, like spider veins or heavy, achy legs.

 

If left untreated, circulatory problems can cause you to experience serious health problems. But if you take note of early warning signals and seek treatment from your Houston vein specialists, you can improve your circulation and avoid or even reverse any associated complications!

 

Sources: SCNow.com, University Herald, Bel Marra Health

DVT and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Here’s what you need to know about DVT and pregnancy. A Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of your body. These deep veins are exactly what they sound like: situated deep inside your body, far away from your skin’s surface. Because the veins aren’t visible, a clot could form unnoticed. And if it doesn’t get treated, it could break free from its initial position, travelling through the circulatory system and ending up in other parts of your body. If that happens, you could be facing a life-threatening medical emergency, especially if the clot travels to your lungs (also known as a pulmonary embolism.)

Many factors can elevate your risk of DVT, including long plane flights, surgery and your age.

Today, we also know that COVID-19 increases your risk for blood clots and DVT, even if your initial symptoms were relatively mild.

Of course, even with vaccines now available, pregnancy probably feels frightening. You may be worried about delivering during the times of Coronavirus, and we aren’t here to scare you.

Still, today, we’re going to look at the connection between pregnancy and your risk for DVT. In that way, you can  protect your vein health during this very different time. When you are pregnant, the blood-clotting factors in your body fluctuate, making clotting more likely. In fact, most pregnant women have a DVT rate that is five-times higher than when they are not expecting. And this elevated risk is a very big deal: DVT is one of the leading killers for pregnant women; your DVT risk is highest in your third trimester and for the first week after delivering your baby.

So, now that you understand your DVT risk during pregnancy, let’s examine the ways in which we can protect your health.

Managing Your DVT Risk During Pregnancy

If you already had a history of blood clots before getting pregnant, your doctor may suggest taking blood thinners while you are expecting. But if you are an otherwise-healthy woman, making smart lifestyle choices during pregnancy can help manage your risk for DVT. Following a healthy diet, and preventing gestational diabetes, can help lower your DVT risk, since being overweight can also increase your likelihood for DVT. Sticking to a regular, doctor-approved exercise program can also help lower your risk for DVT.

Of course, there are never guarantees when it comes to clot prevention. So, if you are pregnant and concerned about clotting, we invite you to discuss your DVT risk with one of our Houston-area vein specialists! Concerned about coming to the office for an in-person visit? Don’t worry: we offer Telemedicine appointments for your comfort and safety. But, whether virtually or in our office, we urge you not to wait to address blood clot concerns. If you think you have a DVT, call our office and request an immediate appointment. We’ll see you right away, and decide if you need to head directly to the emergency room!

 

Sources: Journal Radiology,

What Can I Do to Prevent Varicose Veins?

You can prevent varicose veins, with a little help from your Houston vein specialists. When you develop varicose veins, it’s typically because your vein walls and valves have sustained damage. Often, that damage occurs because of a combination of two factors: compromised blood flow and increased pressure. When the valves in your veins don’t work well, blood has a hard time flowing back to your heart. When it can’t flow back to your heart, the blood builds up in your legs. And when the blood builds up in your legs, it puts a lot of pressure on the walls of your veins. That’s when they start to stretch and bulge, and become visible through your skin.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Symptoms of varicose veins include:

·         bulging, blue or purple veins

·         leg pain or heaviness

·         itchy skin

·         changes in skin color

·         leg cramps, especially in the evenings

Can I Prevent Varicose Veins from Developing?

Certain factors, like your age, pregnancy and family history all increase your risk of developing varicose veins. Your job can also drastically increase your varicose vein risk. In fact, people with certain careers are very likely to develop varicose veins. These include many medical professionals, and people, like truck drivers, who often have to travel by car or plane for their jobs.

All day standing is also a big risk factor for vein health problems. Which is why restaurant and retail staff, hairdressers and barbers, and people who work on assembly lines are very vulnerable to vein disease.

But there are measures you can take to lower your risk of developing new varicose veins. Some of these moves can also improve the appearance of existing vein damage.

Drink More Water

You need water to improve your blood flow and strengthens the muscles that support your veins. Also, staying hydrated helps thin your blood, meaning it has an easier time circulating. It’s also less likely to clot, which reduces your risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). But how much water is enough? On average, you need to drink 8 ounces of water every two hours. But if you’re larger than average, or exercise more (see below), you’ll need more fluids.

You also need to avoid foods and drinks that dehydrate your body, especially ones with lots of salt (sodium.) Instead, choose foods with high-water content. We especially recommend cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and oranges. And, on the veggie side, cucumbers, celery and zucchini are all great options.

Exercise

Getting regular exercise helps improve blood flow in your legs—walking several times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time, will strengthen your calf muscles and improve your blood flow. Both will help prevent blood from pooling in your legs and putting pressure on your vein walls.

Prop up Your Tootsies

Whenever you get the chance to take a break, sit down and get your feet up (ideally above the level of your heart.) This will get that blood flowing back where it belongs.

Move More Every Day

Standing or sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on your veins. If you can get up and move around, or sit down and take a load off, at least once an hour, this will minimize the toll taken on your veins.

Drop Some Pounds

The closer you are to your ideal weight, the less pressure you put on your veins, and the better your entire circulatory system will function.

Take on Outside Pressure

When your body is having problems pushing blood out of your legs, wearing therapeutic compression socks or stockings can help minimize potential vein damage.

While all of these factors can help decrease your chances of developing varicose veins, if you have an increased risk of vein disease, you should stick to regular visits with your vein specialist. That way, if problems do develop, we can catch and treat them as soon as possible. So, if you’re overdue for your vein health check-up, schedule an appointment with our team right away!

Sources: Mayoclinic.org

 

Request an AppointmentRequest Appointment