Tag: walking

The Dos and Don’ts of Varicose Vein Exercises

Let’s talk about varicose vein exercises. We all know that exercise is good for your general health. But when vein disease gives you varicose veins, some exercises will help you, while others can hurt your condition. Usually, exercising more will make your veins bigger. That’s because they have to send all that pumping blood back to your heart. And, evidence suggests that the more you exercise, the healthier your veins will be as well. Basically, exercise gets your blood pumping, so it flows up your vein faster. That creates “shear stress” on your vein wall. Which causes vein wall cells to secrete nitric oxide. This is a chemical that preserves your vein wall health. So, for the most part, exercise is key to improving your vein health.

In certain cases, however, exercises may cause vein problems. Especially if you already have varicose veins. Want to get your veins healthy the right way? Read on for our ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of exercising with varicose veins. Please note that we recognize many readers will currently be avoiding the gym, so we’ve included recommendations for great, at-home exercise options.

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. (If you’re planning to start a new routine right now, we can help get you cleared in office, or with a Telemedicine appointment on the secure Doxy platform.) 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? First of all, you can try any of these activities while following social distancing guidelines. Plus, 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.

Varicose Vein Warnings for Cyclists

While bicycling is a good vein health exercise, be careful about extended cycling routines. Serious bicyclists are more vulnerable to a kind of varicose vein known as a perforator vein. Perforator veins take blood through your muscles to your deep veins, where it goes back up to your heart. Your legs have about 150 perforator veins, and their valves come under pressure when you bike. Why?biking exercise for varicose veins

Serious cycling puts lots of pressure on your calf muscles. It starts when you push pedals. Then, it causes huge pressure in your leg, which should cause your blood to push back to your heart. That’s why vein specialists often recommend bike riding as a good exercise for varicose veins.

Unfortunately, in some cases that pressure is too much for your valves, causing them to fail. While we don’t know exactly why this happens, studies suggest it could be a result of hunched postures or other contributing factors.

Want to prevent cycling complications? Just use caution when you bike ride. Try to practice good posture, and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you already have varicose veins. After all, studies still suggest that your potential vein benefits outweigh the chance of popping a valve. So just proceed with caution and follow your doctor’s advice.

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 like lifting weights, squatting, or even some yoga poses. So now’s not the time for a new, at-home yoga routine. Without the guidance of an instructor, it will be hard to make vein-safe modifications.

Running can also be a problem. Now, it may be ok to take a light jog on a grassy surface or on a trail. But pounding your legs on a treadmill or concrete surface puts lots of pressure on your feet and legs. Which is a big problem for varicose veins.

Here’s why: 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. But walking is always a great, lower impact option!

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, even if our initial consult is remote. The earlier we catch and treat varicose veins, the less likely it is that your vein disease will be able to progress. So please reach out today and request a Telemedicine or in-office visit.

Sources: 220 Triathlon, Mayo Clinic, Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

6 PAD Symptoms to Know and Watch For

We recently completed PAD Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to teach you about identifying PAD symptoms. First, a definition: Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a disease. It develops when arteries in your lower legs narrow.

Because many PAD symptoms mimic those of other conditions, this disease is often hard to diagnose. About 20 million Americans have this disease. Even worse? Almost 500,000 people end up in the hospital because of PAD each year. (A number that rose sharply between 2011 and 2017, according to a study from Yale University. Especially for men younger men, under the age of 65.)

On its own, that’s a scary statistic. But here’s a fact that should shake you up further. Up to 200,000 Americans with PAD don’t even know they have it! So, in order to prevent a missed diagnosis, we need you to know and identify PAD symptoms. If you experience any of these problems, it’s important to see your Houston vein specialist right away.

Painful Symptoms of PAD

Muscle pain is one of several symptoms of PAD

  1. Pain in Your Legs After Walking or Exercise. One of the most common symptoms of PAD, this pain or cramping occurs with movement because your lower extremities don’t get enough oxygen to support the increased activity.  Most often, PAD sufferers will experience this pain in their calf muscles, but it may manifest anywhere in the lower legs. Pain will typically not resolve until the PAD sufferer stops all physical activity.
  2. Wounds, Sores or Ulcers. This second symptom is also caused by a lack of oxygen reaching your lower limbs. When you cut yourself, and you don’t have PAD, proper circulation and blood flow will help your injury heal quickly. When you have PAD, however, even a small scrape can remain open and unhealed as the plaque in their arteries blocks blood flow to the wound. This symptom must be addressed immediately: left unchecked, a wound can lead to serious infection and even amputation.

    Physical PAD Warning Signs

  3. Skin Changes on Your Legs. Once again, poor circulation is behind this PAD symptom. Some of the physical changes that occur with PAD include skin that appears to be shiny, loss of leg and/or toe hair, and a blue-ish tinge to your skin. Your lower legs, especially your toes, may also feel cold, even when your feet are covered and should otherwise feel toasty.
  4. Muscle, Not Joint, Pain. We’ve already noted that leg pain and cramps are a symptom of PAD, but it’s important to note where that pain is located. Many people think of leg pain as a normal part of aging, and it CAN be–when that pain is happening in your joints. When it’s located in your muscles, however, that is a sign that something beyond normal aches and pains is going on.
  5. Dead tissue. Most people will identify their PAD before reaching this point, but if you have gangrenous or dead tissue on your toes, feet or legs and you haven’t been checked for PAD, get a diagnostic vein scan ASAP.

    Emotional PAD Symptoms

  6. Depression. Especially for women, your depression symptoms may develop or worsen with PAD. So if you have the symptoms we described above, and depression, it’s time for a PAD check.

If there’s one thing we need you to remember, it’s this: PAD is a progressive disease. If you ignore early warning signs, your symptoms of PAD will get worse. Don’t wait until you’re in pain. Call our Houston area clinics today and schedule an immediate PAD consultation!

 

Sources: Mayoclinic.org , Healio Cardiology 

8 Moves that Help Spider Veins

If you need help for spider veins, you’re not alone: they’re a very common condition, especially among women who are or have been pregnant or are over the age of 50. Just because they’re common, however, doesn’t mean they can’t be treated! In our Texas Endovascular practice, we offer several different treatment plans for your spider or varicose veins, all of them being minimally invasive and performed as outpatient procedures! And, while you’re discussing with your doctor what treatment option is best for you, here are 8 tips to follow that can keep your condition from getting worse!

Hacks to Help with Spider Veins

There are many different lifestyle changes you can make to help spider veins. These are just a beginning point. And if you already have vein health concerns, you’ll need to explore treatment options.

walking can help spider veins
Frequent exercise, like taking walks, can help improve the appearance of spider veins
  1. Stay Active!

    Regular exercise can improve blood circulation in your legs, while also lowering your blood pressure (another factor that could improve varicose veins.) Not sure where to start? Check out our weekly Move it Monday blog posts for exercise inspiration!

  2. Rock Your Socks

    Tight (compression) socks or stockings apply pressure to your lower legs, potentially helping to improve blood flow to the area. Not sure how or when to wear these babies? This guide to putting on compression socks can help.

  3. But…Skip the Stilettos.

    High heels keep your calf muscles engaged, reducing the amount of blood that flows into the veins of your foot and calf. It also reduces the amount of force going to push blood into those veins, meaning blood can begin to pool and form new or worsen existing spider veins. So, while high heels don’t technically cause vein problems, they certainly won’t help spider veins.

  4. Skip the Salt, too.

    Salty foods can cause your body to retain water and swell up; while you’re swelling, those bulging varicose veins may worsen.

  5. Up Your Fiber Intake to Help Spider Veins.

    Fiber is good for your heart health, and improved heart health equals better blood flow throughout the body. For that reason, this diet to boost circulation could keep unsightly veins at bay.

  6. Embrace Massage.

    Gently massaging your legs can help stimulate blood flow to the area, but don’t apply direct pressure to bulging veins as the delicate tissue may be damaged.

  7. Take a Stand.

    Sitting for extended periods of time, whether at home, at work, or on a plane, allows blood to pool in your legs. Take frequent walking breaks to avoid this issue.

  8. Drop a Few:

    Extra pounds on your frame puts extra pressure on your legs. That’s because extra fat in your abdomen makes it tough for your blood to beat gravity and flow out of your legs, back to your heart. Instead, it pools in your legs, stretching your veins and leading to spider veins. So maintaining a healthy weight can help spider veins you already have. Or even keep new ones from forming!

Need more help managing your vein health concerns? That’s what we’re here for! Just reach out today and request an immediate appointment with our Houston area vein specialists!

 

Sources: mayoclinic.org, medicalnewstoday.com

Do This for 30 minutes each Day for Healthier Veins!

Everyone wants healthier veins and great-looking legs. But not everyone wants to spend tons of time getting to that point! Fall into that category? Don’t worry! As it turns out, all you need to do is walk for 30 minutes, every day, and you’ll score healthy veins, great looking legs, and a whole slew of other benefits!

Walking for healthier veins

Walk your way to a lower risk of vein disease!

Varicose veins are a common problem, with the risk increasing every year that goes by. Thankfully, this simple, daily walking routine can help prevent varicose veins from developing on your legs.

Why? Your venous system is composed of the muscles, veins, and valves in your calf and foot. All those components work together to push blood from your legs, up to the heart. In order to get there, you need strong muscles, since their contractions can help blood flow against gravity with fast, strong pushes.

When you walk, you strengthen the muscles in your calves, helping push your blood out of the legs and preventing the type of pooling that can cause veins to bulge in an unsightly manner. And, if you already have varicose veins, these 30 minutes of walking can help ease some of the swelling and pain that’s often associated with the condition.

5 More Benefits of Daily Walking

  1. Lose Weight

Even though it’s low-impact, walking still helps you burn off excess calories. Do it every day, and you just may notice a drop on the scale—or some extra room in your waist band!

  1. Fight off Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, daily walking packs a double punch: it lowers your blood sugar levels and decreases your overall risk of developing diabetes.

  1. Improve Digestion

When you walk, you engage your core muscles to hold you up and move you forward. And stronger core muscles can help get things moving in your digestive tract, making it easier to regulate your bowel movements without dietary additions or supplements.

  1. Protect your joints

Unlike running, daily walks are great for your joints. Why? The movement increases blood flow to your legs, and it helps strengthen the muscles that protect and support your joints. That’s why studies show that just 10 minutes of daily walking can help fight arthritis…now imagine what happens when you triple that number!

  1. Improve your sleep

Regular daily workouts boost your body’s response to and production of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone. That means your workouts will help you sleep better—so long as you avoid physical activity an hour or two before bed time, as this may rile you up and make it more difficult to fall asleep at your chosen bed time.

Running, Biking and Vein Health

While walking promotes healthier veins, the same isn’t always true of running. As it turns out, when you work your leg veins too hard, with strenuous exercise, problems can develop. For that reason, marathon runners and competitive cyclists often struggle with venous insufficiency. (That’s when the valves in your leg veins don’t work well. Making it harder for blood to get out of your legs and back up to your heart.)

How can exercise lead to vein problems? After all, we’ve all been told that regular exercise leads to healthier veins! Well, the answer lies in how hard you work your legs. Because repeatedly putting intense pressure on your leg veins can wear them down. Meaning, even if you run once in a while, you should switch up your daily workouts. And try to get in some daily walking sessions to give your veins a boost. (And a break!)

Already dealing with vein health challenges? Don’t worry, we can help! Schedule a consultation today with our Houston vein specialists. Together, we’ll review the lifestyle changes and medical interventions you need to enjoy healthier veins!

Sources: Runner’s Tribe17,  Prevention Magazine

Request an AppointmentRequest Appointment