Are you one of the more than 40 million American adults with varicose veins? Then you understand the embarrassment and discomfort these bulging, coil-like veins can bring. The last thing you want is to make them worse.
Unfortunately, your lifestyle habits may be doing just that — without you even knowing it. That’s why board-certified vascular surgeon Rashmi Sharma, MD, RPVI, and the team at Hamptons Vein & Vascular in Rutherford and Westfield, New Jersey, put together this informative guide.
In addition to offering solutions for varicose veins, Dr. Sharma is committed to educating patients so you can take your health into your own hands. Keep reading to learn about lifestyle habits you want to avoid so your varicose veins don’t get worse.
Not exercising regularly
If you have varicose veins, one of the most important habits you’ll want to change is your exercise routine. Your leg muscles push blood to your heart, and if you have varicose veins this is especially important since the one-way valve that helps keep blood from pooling is broken.
Other reasons to start exercising regularly include a reduction in the symptoms associated with varicose veins, like cramping and heaviness, and a lower risk of complications associated with multiple vascular diseases.
Not maintaining a healthy weight
It’s easy to let your weight creep up on you, but if you’re overweight or obese the added stress placed on your legs makes varicose veins worse. Losing weight can help stop veins from worsening and even prevent new varicose veins from developing. It’s also important to cut down on salt and turn away from fast foods and processed foods, which are high in sodium.
Sitting for long periods
Americans today spend more time sitting in front of screens than ever before. Between your television, computer, and smartphone, it’s easy to sit for long periods of time without taking a walking break.
To keep your varicose veins from getting worse, be sure to stand up and walk, even for just a few minutes, every half hour or so. This helps keep the blood moving in the right direction — away from your legs and toward your heart.
Not putting your legs up
Sitting and standing without putting your legs up means gravity works to keep blood in your lower extremities. The result? More noticeable varicose veins with worsening symptoms. While for most of us, elevating our feet above our hearts may not come naturally, making it a habit to do this 3 or 4 times a day for short periods at a time (15-20 minutes) helps prevent varicose veins from getting worse.
Crossing your legs
While sitting with your legs crossed may not be a medical emergency, it temporarily increases your blood pressure. This added pressure can make varicose veins worse. Sitting with your legs crossed for brief periods is okay, but be sure to switch up the position of your legs and feet throughout the day to keep varicose veins from worsening.
Wearing clothes that fit tightly
While you may like the way tight-fitting clothes look, the truth is they make your varicose veins worse. This is because clothes that fit tightly around the thighs, groin, or waist puts more pressure on your lower legs and can make varicose veins worse. If you have varicose veins, opt for looser-fitting clothes as much as possible to reduce this pressure.
The good news is Dr. Sharma and the team at Hamptons Vein & Vascular have solutions to treat your varicose veins. Learn which options are right for you by contacting the office most convenient to your location or schedule an exam using our online tool now!