This article is for information only and doesn't call for any action.
I want to describe several important ways to cope with varicose veins or avoid it in the future.
Check your family tree. This vascular problem runs in families, although the reason is unknown. Some experts believe there is a weakness in the gene that governs the development of the veins. This may lead to defects in the structure of valves and veins or, in some people, a decrease in the number of valves in the veins, causing the few that are there to get overloaded in their duties. If you do find a history of varicose veins in your family, the sooner you follow preventive home remedies the better.
Get moving. While exercise may not prevent varicose veins, doctors agree that physical activity can lessen the symptoms by improving circulation, which prevents blood from pooling. As working muscles in the lower limbs contract, they push blood through the veins, back to the heart.
To get your legs moving, almost any exercise that involves the legs will do, from aerobics to strengthening to spot-toning activities, say the experts. Ride a bike, take an aerobics class, go for a walk or a run, use the stair machine in the gym or climb the stairs at work during your lunch hour -- these are all good exercises for the legs. Spot-toning exercises, such as leg raises, that specifically build up the muscles in the buttocks, thighs, and lower legs are also recommended.
Eating a balanced diet and keeping your weight down can help ease the pain of varicose veins.
Eat a balanced diet. Besides helping you maintain proper weight, a balanced diet can give you nutrients that may actually help prevent varicose veins.
For example, protein and vitamin C are both components of collagen, part of the tissue in the veins and valves. If the collagen is in good shape, the tissues are likely to be more resilient.
A balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein, is the best way to get the right amounts of valuable nutrients. However, while a healthy diet can strengthen your vascular system, it can't cure varicose veins.
Take a break from standing. When you're standing in one place, the blood in your leg veins must not only make a long uphill journey against the force of gravity, it has to do so without the pumping assistance that expanding-and-contracting leg muscles can provide. (It's a little like trying to get up a creek without a paddle!) As a result, the blood tends to pool in the lower legs, leading to the development of varicose veins.
If possible, take frequent breaks to walk around or, preferably, to sit with your feet up. And while you're standing in one spot, shift your weight from one leg to the other and/or occasionally get up on tiptoes; it will engage your leg muscles in the task of pushing blood up toward your heart.
Prop up your legs. Putting your feet up is good, but elevating them above the level of your heart is even better. It's a way to use gravity to help the blood move from your feet and ankles back to your heart. Doctors have been recommending elevation to relieve leg pain and swelling for centuries. As a matter of fact, Hippocrates in ancient Greece wrote of its benefits.
So lie down on a couch and prop your feet on the arm or put three or four pillows under them (or lie on the floor and rest your feet on the seat of a chair). Can't lie down? Sit on one chair and prop your feet on the back of another chair. When possible, try to elevate your legs for ten minutes once an hour.
But don't sit too long, either. Some experts theorize that even sitting for extended periods can contribute to varicose veins. Bent knees and hips, the thinking goes, complicate and slow the return of blood to your heart. So it's very important that on a long car or plane ride or during a day of sitting at the office (or at home, for that matter) you get up and stretch your legs once in a while. When you need a break, try this rejuvenator: Stand on your toes and flex the heel up and down ten times.
Don't be crossed. Sitting with your legs crossed can slow circulation to and from your lower legs.
Check your seat. The same can happen if you sit in a chair with a seat that is too deep for your leg length: The front edge of the chair digs into the back of your knees, compressing blood vessels and restricting blood flow. Get a chair that fits your body better, or, if that's not possible, scoot your backside away from the chair's back until the pressure on your legs is relieved.
Flex your feet. Contracting the muscles in your feet may help force blood upward and out of the veins. While seated -- and even while your legs are elevated -- try these three exercises to really get the blood pumping out of your feet and back to your heart:
- The Ankle Pump: Flex your foot up and down as you would when you pump a piano pedal or gas pedal.
- Ankle Circles: Rotate your feet clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Heel Slips: With your knees bent, slide your heels back and forth.
Sleep with elevated feet. For those with chronic swelling in the lower legs, it may help put a few pillows under your feet while you are sleeping.
Lower your heels. Shoes with lower heels require your calf muscles to do more work -- a plus for better circulation -- than high-heeled shoes.
Wear tennis shoes. If your feet habitually swell, it may be worthwhile to wear tennis shoes or other lace-up shoes that can be opened up or loosened to alleviate the pressure and allow for freer circulation.
Loosen up. Your clothing, that is. Stay away from pants or other clothing that are tight at the waist or groin; they can act almost as tourniquets that restrict blood flow at these important circulation points.
Consider "stocking" up on support. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about special compression stockings designed to improve circulation in the legs. How do they work? They apply more pressure to the lower legs than to the thigh area. Since more pressure is exerted on the lower legs, blood is more readily pushed up toward the heart.
Adhering to these tips, I cured varicose veins without surgery. I hope you and these tips will help you.