Many of us don’t think much about our veins and vein health until we have a problem. But our veins are an integral part of our cardiovascular system and are essential to our overall health.
The health and strength of our veins can be at risk as we age. Additional factors such as weight, other health conditions, heredity, and more can affect your vein health.
Why Worry About Vein Health?
Even if you don’t yet have issues, you should think about your vein health. Health concerns related to vein health can range from minor cosmetic issues to serious life-threatening conditions.
DVT can be a serious medical condition involving a blot clot, often in the legs. Pain, swelling, or a warm sensation in the area are symptoms, and if you believe you may have DVT, you should seek medical attention.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency occurs when valves that keep blood moving in the right direction begin to fail. This can cause circulation problems, severe inflammation, pain, and swelling.
Varicose Veins are large, twisted veins that can be visible through the skin. They result from weakened valves and vein walls and can cause pain, heaviness, and swelling. They can also be an indication of CVI.
Spider Veins are usually just a cosmetic concern, which can affect your confidence and quality of life. They can also indicate CVI.
Keeping Your Veins Healthy
While some risk factors for vein disorders are connected to genetics, there is a large lifestyle component to vein health. This means there are things you can do to protect the health of your veins.
Movement and Exercise
Getting regular exercise is key to good overall health and vein health. When you are active, your muscled contract and pump your blood more vigorously, combatting the poor or reversed blood flow caused by CVI and other vein conditions. In addition, an active lifestyle and quality exercise can strengthen your veins, lower blood pressure, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Aside from structured exercise, it is important to avoid a sedentary lifestyle overall. Avoid standing or sitting for a long period of time. Set an alarm on your phone to move around. Even brief periods of movement every 30-60 minutes can significantly reduce your risk.
A Healthy Diet
Unfortunately, the standard American diet (aptly referred to often as SAD) can be bad for vein health and can contribute to obesity. Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, meaning plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of healthy produce, including options high in antioxidants. Round out your diet with healthy proteins and fats. These choices will improve vein health and combat free radicals.
Staying hydrated affects many body functions, including cardiovascular health. Proper hydration keeps tissue healthy, including vein walls. It actually helps keep them stronger and less lax. Staying hydrated also improves blood viscosity, or thickness, which improves blood flow.
Elevate Your Legs
If you are experiencing circulation problems due to weakened vein walls or valves, elevating your legs (ideally above your heart) can help. Spending 5-10 minutes at the end of the day laying with your legs up a wall can be beneficial. If you can find other opportunities to elevate your legs to hip level or higher throughout the day, it can be even more helpful.
Smoking negatively impacts your lungs, heart, and, yes, your veins. Nicotine, whether you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco, can harden vein walls and increase your risk of dangerous clots.
Get Professional Vein Treatment
If you are concerned about the health of your veins, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek medical treatment. There are many options available to treat concerns such as varicose and spider veins, as well as assess your overall vein health. Don’t wait to schedule a consultation with our team of interventional radiologists, and start being proactive about the health of your veins.