Varicose veins are dilated branches of veins near the surface of the skin. Like a stretched-out sweater, there is no way to reverse the dilation of the vein once it has occurred. So, to the question of curability, the answer is no. There is no “cure” for varicose veins without surgery. But there are several things you can do to prevent varicose veins from forming and also to keep existing ones from getting worse. By implementing these lifestyle changes, you can avoid the progression of varicose veins to a size requiring surgical intervention.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Varicose Veins
Weight loss is one of the most important therapies for varicose veins. By maintaining a healthy body weight, there will be less pressure on the veins returning blood to the heart. This lets the veins empty more efficiently, leading to decreased pressure and dilation that causes varicose veins to develop.
Exercise is a wonderful tool when battling swelling and vein problems. The repeated squeezing of the calf muscles pumps the venous blood back to the heart. Also, increased activity will improve overall circulation, especially to the legs1. Low impact activities like swimming, water aerobics, walking, cycling or yoga can improve circulation without the risk of injury.
Compression stockings are also commonly recommended for the treatment and prevention of varicose veins. These medical-grade stockings squeeze the legs, driving the blood up the leg and back to the heart, and pushing blood into the deeper veins that work more effectively.
There are two grades of compression: over-the-counter and prescription. They differ in the amount of “squeeze” on the legs. For occupations with excessive standing or sitting, pregnancy, and/or in patients without symptoms of wounds, pain, swelling, heaviness or a diagnosis of venous insufficiency, the over-the-counter strength usually provides enough support. In patients dealing with significant pain and swelling and/or venous disease diagnosed on ultrasound, a prescription can be written for stronger compression to more adequately address the veins.
One last piece of advice to help with varicose veins is to elevate your legs. This one’s easy! You can do this with a recliner or even pillows. By elevating your legs above your heart, gravity will help keep the blood from pooling in your lower legs and improves blood flow to the rest of your body.
Trust The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates
At The Vein Center, we are your go-to for helping you fully understand your options, and with guidance from Dr. Jenna Wishnew and our team of specialists, choose the right treatment for you.
This state-of-the-art facility is dedicated entirely to the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of venous conditions. An evaluation at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates is non-invasive and involves the use of ultrasound to look at the size and flow of the veins.
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