Varicose veins and spider veins are medical conditions that are generally of more concern from a cosmetic point of view than a health one. They are usually harmless but they don’t look great, so it makes sense to get rid of them if you can. And you can. We’re going to tell you about five ways to do this, but first let’s look at exactly what we’re dealing with here.
Varicose veins are ordinary veins that have become swollen and very noticeable. They occur in as many as 50% of older people in the US.
Pesky little brother of the varicose veins are spider veins, which don’t bulge but are visible all the same: spidery in appearance – hence the name. Men suffer from varicose and spider veins, perhaps as much as women do, (it is estimated that 55% of women and 45% of men are affected by varicose veins) but for various reasons they are not regarded as a problem in the same way. Most men’s legs are hidden by long trousers most of the time, for instance, so as long as the veins don’t hurt, they are simply accepted as part of the aging process.
And part of the aging process they may indeed be, but if the issue can be resolved, why not resolve it and get back to the way you were?
They should be looked at by your doctor, anyway, just to make sure there is no sinister underlying cause, such as deep vein thrombosis. What are veins for? They take blood back up to the heart (the arteries send it out, veins bring it back), and that takes effort because gravity makes it difficult. Veins therefore have valves to stop the blood trickling back down, but as the veins become weaker the blood pools in them.
While the specific cause for varicose veins is unclear and they may be hereditary, they are linked to pregnancy, standing for long periods and obesity. There may well be other things in people’s everyday lives that put pressure on the legs and contribute to the deterioration of the veins.
The affected areas can start to feel heavy, with swelling and itching. Another common symptom is restless leg syndrome. request a Duplex Ultrasound or Angiogram for a conclusive diagnosis.
Treatment for varicose or spider veins ranges from invasive (i.e. surgery) to much less drastic measure and many natural alternatives are now available.
Here are five non-invasive options.
- Leg exercises
Getting plenty of exercise is remedy for many ills, and this is no exception. The leg muscles play a key part in helping the veins to push blood upwards, so something as simple as going for a walk regularly can be a good idea. Sufferers should also look into low impact exercises such as leg lifts, calf raises, bicycle lifts and side lunges. Any good gym instructor will give you some suggestions.
- Compression therapy
Doctors often recommend compression stockings to ease varicose veins and increase circulation. These are basically tight socks that gently squeeze around the ankle area, giving the blood a bit of a push upwards.
Nutritionists suggest reducing your calorie intake, drinking plenty of water and making sure you get enough vitamin C and high-fiber foods. Other beneficial vitamins include B6, B9 and B12.
Decreasing calorie intake means losing weight, but this should not be to drastic. Ask your doctor for sensible targets More information here: a table for proper calorie deficit. Foods that have plenty of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit mangoes and papayas. In addition to fruits, bell peppers have lots of vitamin C , and so do chillies, although obviously you’re not going eat platefuls of them. But help yourself to as much broccoli, kale and cauliflower as you like. For vitamin B, choose chicken, eggs, tuna, bananas and avocados. Also whole-grain flour, brown and wild rice, whole barley, muesli, oatmeal, millet and wheat germ. Shellfish, cheese, liver, clams… sounds like a pretty good diet, doesn’t it?
This is a relatively little-known one, but it’s very simple. It involves injecting a liquid sometimes compared to weak shaving foam into the veins. It weakens the veins and eventually they break down, to be harmlessly reabsorbed by the body. And the body, brilliant device that it is, finds other veins to send the blood through.
The procedure takes about 10 minutes, and it is considered very effective because it also closes off “feeder veins” which are the main factor in the recurrence of spider veins. After the procedure, the patient must wear compression stockings or bandages for two weeks, and walk a lot. Depending on the condition, some patients may need more than one treatment.
- Laser treatment
Many treatment centers such as you can look at here: Varicose vein removal Whittier, offer another highly effective solution: the laser. It is virtually painless, and also one of the most advanced available procedures. Again, this destroys the targeted veins. The technician directs a highly focused beam of light above the skin of the varicose vein, which will damage it and cause it to develop scar tissue. That, in turn blocks the blood flow in that region and obliges the body to find alternative routes.
Many people will want to try the gentler, “natural” solutions first, but when push comes to shove, sclerotherapy or the laser will do the job.
Perhaps you have your own ideas for treating varicose and spider veins. If so, we’d love to hear them, so post them here and maybe you’ll help others.