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Preventing Varicose Veins

by Jane Meggitt

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If you’re afflicted with varicose veins, wearing shorts, skirts and anything that reveals your legs is probably a thing of the past. Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from these ugly, swollen veins. If you’re one of those unlucky one-fifth, much depends on whether or not varicose veins run in your family. If that’s the case, there’s not much you can do to influence hereditary. However, if varicose veins aren’t common in your lineage, there are measures you can take to minimize varicose vein development.

Lifestyle Changes

You can’t control your genes, but you do have some control over your lifestyle. Here are some tips for changing your habits and preventing varicose veins:

  • Lose weight – Cut out the junk foods and embark on a healthy diet. This doesn’t just help prevent varicose veins, but various types of health issues.
  • Exercise – You should exercise to lose weight, but even if you aren’t packing extra pounds, regular exercise can help varicose veins from forming. The more physically active you are, the more blood flows through your legs, and this helps keep veins healthy.
  • Wear loose clothing – Avoid tight clothing around your legs or waist. Tight clothing can inhibit healthy blood circulation, the last thing you want to do if you are concerned about varicose veins.
  • Don’t stand or sit for long periods – If work forces you to stay put for long stretches, get up and move around the office as much as possible.
  • Keep legs elevated – When watching TV, reading or just relaxing, elevate your legs. You can also put a pillow under your legs while sleeping to keep them elevated and keep pressure off your veins.

Compression Stockings

Wearing compression stockings can reduce the risk of varicose vein development. Some people may think wearing such hose is as bad as exposing varicosed-vein legs, but the modern compression stocking is almost indistinguishable from regular stockings. Available at medical supply houses and pharmacies, today’s compression stockings come in a wide variety of colors, textures and patterns. You can look stylish while still protecting your legs.

Severe Veins

If you develop varicose veins, don’t despair. There are a range of medical options to eliminate such veins, and most of them involve non-invasive procedures performed at the doctor’s office. Most people can go back to work the next day. Laser or radio-frequency ablation heats the vein from inside, so it collapses. With sclerotherapy, a liquid injected into the vein causes its collapse. Discuss the best treatment for your situation with your doctor.

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