Varicose veins and their less concerning variation called spider veins is a common sight and side effect of aging. Varicose veins are often the shallow veins found near the upper layers of your skin, and any of these veins can become "varicose" due to many factors. Varicose veins are usually veins that have become weak or damaged, or as a result of weakened muscle definition in an area. Varicose veins can also be caused by hormonal changes, family history, being overweight, or from the muscles being atrophied if sitting or lying down for extended periods.
In this article, we'll explore what varicose veins are if they are harmful, and some natural remedies and exercises you can perform today to reduce their appearance, or be rid of them altogether.
- What Are Varicose Veins?
- Are Varicose Veins Harmful To Your Health?
- How To Reduce The Appearance Of Varicose Veins
- Varicose Veins Exercises
Varicose veins are simply twisted, weak, damaged, or enlarged veins that protrude and show in the superficial layers of your skin (usually in the forearms, calves, and hamstrings). The most common varicose (or spider) veins can be found in the lower legs, and this is because standing, walking, running, or jumping on hard ground places strenuous pressure on the veins of your lower body (where they also must compete with gravity).
When blood is not flowing properly in the vein or artery, it causes a backup - which causes the vein to swell, appearing as a blue or purple bruise or vein that is visible.
Although varicose veins often come with age, especially in women, it is not necessarily the only factor. Hormonal changes in the body, such as pregnancy (especially one lacking vitamins), birth control, puberty, or chemical imbalance can weaken the arterial muscles, causing varicose veins to develop. Rapid and sustained weight gain can also place pressure on your arterial walls, weakening them and causing varicose veins. An unhealthy diet, being sedentary or overindulgence in alcohol and smoking are also factors that can contribute to varicose veins.
For many people, varicose veins are just a cosmetic issue - some consider them unsightly and wish to cover them up from the public eye. Varicose veins do not necessarily constitute a medical emergency, such as "spider" veins, which are a milder version. It could just signal that a previous problem was corrected, or show that you may need to strengthen muscles and their contractions rather than being a problem with the vein itself.
With this being said, varicose veins can also cause health complications and even be painful. These are signs that they may need some medical attention from a professional healthcare provider. Some symptoms of a worsening medical condition may include:
- Drastic changes in skin color around the vein, especially if the vein is dark blue or purple and protrudes more than the others
- Swelling and irritation, which may cause itchiness due to the numbing feeling where blood does not circulate properly
- Aching muscles, or feeling that you are "dragging" your feet
- Sensations such as burning, throbbing, cramps, and other painful feelings when performing daily tasks or just sitting/standing
If left unchecked, severe and untreated conditions can lead to blood clots, ulcers, and internal bleeding, so it is recommended to both seek presentation and therapy as soon as you are able.
Modify Your Diet
Taking a multivitamin that contains omega 3, B12, magnesium, and vitamin K2 is proven to help reduce the formation of blood clots, improve blood pressure, reduce stress, and increase the strength of the arterial walls - greatly reducing the chance of forming and further preventing the creation of varicose veins. You cannot, however, fix every problem with a vitamin, so a vegan diet that includes high fiber and low sodium intake can help drastically reduce the change of varicose vein creation.
Reduce Pressure on Certain Areas
Tight-fitting clothing, such as hosiery, corsets, and other skin-tight clothing cause the appearance of your varicose veins to show on superficial layers. This is also true with wearing things such as stilettos and other high-heels for extended periods, as it places most of the pressure on the heel and ball of the foot.
Exercise not only strengthens the muscles for the prevention of varicose veins but also contributes to weight loss and limits atrophying muscles that come with a sedentary lifestyle. We list the best varicose vein exercise below.
Swimming: swimming is an extremely low-impact activity that consists of many health benefits. It takes the pressure off the joints and muscles that either come with weight, injury, or stiffness. Swimming helps to promote weight loss while also increasing muscle strength in your body as it is a complete and total workout. Furthermore, the reduction of pressure from affected areas also helps to stimulate blood flow, and will additionally repair the arterial walls during rest.
How much is sclerotherapy for spider veins?
Sclerotherapy is a clinical procedure performed by a licensed professional and requires consultation as each case is unique. It involves injecting a solution within the veins to help break up blood clots and increase the strength of the arterial walls. Here is the complete guide on sclerotherapy, including price, effectiveness rate, and how it works.
Can varicose veins burst?
Yes, although this is usually only associated with those that are extremely at risk. The vein can be in danger of bursting if enough clotting or weakening of the arterial wall occurs. While this may seem like imminent danger, bursting usually only causes a minor bleeding issue - it is advised to seek medical attention right away to prevent more serious issues.
Should varicose veins be massaged?
Massaging the affected area may relieve some pain temporarily, but will not cause any positive effects in the long term. Strengthening the muscles as well as incorporating cardio exercises and a proper diet are proven remedies for varicose veins.