The causes of venous insufficiency and varicose veins largely depend on genetics, but age, significant time spent standing and your activity levels can affect your vein health as well. Women are about two times more likely to suffer from varicose veins than men. In a healthy vein, valves keep the blood flowing upwards and back to your heart from the legs and arms. However, sometimes these valves become damaged, allowing small backflows of blood to become trapped in the veins. The result is a swollen and often painful, bulging vein that is typically seen in the legs.
Veins are an important part of the vascular system. Arteries deliver blood to bodily tissues, while veins transport blood back to the heart using one-way valves. Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins malfunction. As one gets older, veins lose elasticity, causing them to stretch out. When that happens, blood that should be moving toward the heart may flow backward. Blood pools in leg veins, and subsequently enlarge and become varicose. Varicose veins have lost their normal function and the ability to transport blood.
Varicose veins can be more than unsightly. Varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to eczema, inflammation or even ulceration of the lower leg. They can be quite painful. To improve circulation and muscle tone, follow these tips: Exercise: Get your legs moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Ask NHVS to recommend an appropriate activity level customized for you. Control your weight: Shedding excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off your veins. Watch what you wear: Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for your veins. Don’t wear tight clothes around your calves or groin.
Tight panty-leg girdles, for instance, can restrict circulation. Elevate your legs: To improve circulation, take three or four 10- to 15-minute breaks daily to elevate your legs above the level of your heart. For example, lie down with your legs resting on three or four pillows. Avoid long periods of sitting or standing: Make a point of changing your position frequently to encourage blood flow. Don’t sit with your legs crossed: This position can aggravate circulatory problems.
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Novant Health Vein Specialists physicians specialize in a number of state-of-the-art venous procedures and diagnostic tests. To find out more about them, and how these treatments may help you or a loved one, complete the form below and one of our specialists will contact you.