7 Ways to Prevent Varicose Veins from Getting Worse

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
7 ways to prevent varicose veins from getting worse

Varicose veins don't have to be a permanent source of discomfort or embarrassment. While they won't go away without the intervention of a vein specialist, there are steps you can take to prevent your varicose veins from getting worse.

Why Do I Have Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common circulatory condition caused when veins become enlarged and twisted, often appearing as blue or purple bulging cords beneath the skin's surface.

Veins are responsible for transporting blood back to the heart. Blood from the legs must travel against gravity to return to the heart.

Valves in the veins, called bicuspid valves, help prevent the backward flow of blood. When these valves weaken or become damaged, blood can pool in the veins, developing varicose veins.

The symptoms of varicose veins will vary from person to person but include but are not limited to:

Visible, Enlarged Veins: The most apparent sign of varicose veins is the appearance of twisted, swollen, and bulging veins, usually blue or purple. They are often visible beneath the skin, most commonly on the legs and feet.

Aching or Throbbing Pain: Many individuals with varicose veins report aching or throbbing pain in the affected areas. This discomfort may worsen after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.

Heaviness or Fatigue in the Legs: A common complaint is a feeling of heaviness or fatigue in the legs, especially after extended periods of activity. This sensation may improve with rest and leg elevation.

Swelling and Edema: Varicose veins can accumulate fluid in the surrounding tissues, causing swelling (edema). Swelling is often more noticeable in the ankles and lower legs.

Itching or Irritation:

Some individuals may experience itching or irritation over the affected veins. Scratching the skin can lead to skin changes or open sores.

Skin Changes: Over time, varicose veins may contribute to changes in the skin, such as discoloration or a brownish appearance. The skin may also feel dry or be prone to inflammation. Please seek medical attention if you're experiencing skin changes, including ulcers, wounds that won't heal, or skin hardening near affected veins, as this increases your risk of chronic wounds or infections.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): According to the Mayo Clinic, restless legs syndrome is the uncontrollable urge to move the legs and is more prevalent in individuals with varicose veins. Symptoms often worsen at night and may interfere with sleep.

Seek emergent medical care if you're experiencing symptoms that may indicate a severe medical emergency, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Look out for the following signs:

  • Sudden, intense pain in the leg or calf

  • Radiating heat from the affected area

  • Swelling in one or both legs

  • Chest pains

  • Difficulty breathing

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) offers specialized DVT rule-out services, providing a comprehensive solution to help you avoid lengthy waits and costly emergency room visits. Our approach includes a thorough scan, anticoagulation treatment, educational resources, and necessary follow-up care for those who suspect a DVT. Don't hesitate to contact our DVT hotline at 877-SCAN-DVT (877-722-6388) or 240-965-3915 to access these services promptly. Your health and peace of mind are our top priorities.

7 Ways To Prevent Varicose Veins From Getting Worse

Varicose veins don't go away without medical treatment. Fortunately, several strategies, from lifestyle changes to medical treatments, prevent varicose veins from worsening.

Discuss any changes you want to make with your vein specialist before including them in your daily routines, especially any over-the-counter supplements or quick-fix products, as they may not be practical or interact with your current medications. Here are some practical strategies you can use to prevent your varicose veins from getting worse:

1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

    One of the key factors contributing to varicose veins is excess weight. Extra weight puts added pressure on the veins, particularly in the legs. The increased pressure from a higher body mass can cause the weakening of vein walls, the development of varicose veins, and, over time, chronic venous insufficiency. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise prevents varicose veins from worsening.

    Consider talking to your vein specialist or primary care provider to stop smoking. According to Johns Hopkins, cigarette smoke has the potential to narrow blood vessels, including veins, leading to reduced blood flow and a perceived decrease in their size. Long-term smoking can cause damage to the blood vessels and vein walls, increasing your risk for blood clots, vein disease, and chronic venous insufficiency.

    2. Exercise Regularly

      Regular physical activity is vital for cardiovascular health and can significantly prevent varicose veins. Exercise helps improve blood circulation, strengthens the veins, and helps prevent blood from pooling in the legs.

      Walking, swimming, water aerobics, and cycling are good ways to introduce more movement into your day. High-impact exercises like running, tennis, and basketball can stress varicose veins and restrict blood flow, worsening their condition.

      Talk to your vein specialist about the exercises and physical activities that will best help you relieve varicose vein symptoms and aid in prevention.

      3. Elevate Your Legs

        Elevating your legs throughout the day is an easy and effective way to alleviate pressure on the veins and reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. Whenever possible, elevate your legs above the level of your heart for 15-20 minutes several times a day.

        Elevate your legs on a pillow while resting or take short breaks to raise your legs above the level of your heart during the day. Elevating your legs helps to facilitate blood flow back to the heart and can relieve swelling and discomfort associated with varicose veins.

        If you're increasing your activity level by exercising more, elevate your legs post-workout to help reduce mild inflammation from activity.

        4. Wear Compression Stockings

          Compression stockings apply pressure to the legs, which can help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and improve blood circulation. These stockings come in various compression levels, so choosing the right level is important based on your individual needs and the severity of your condition.

          5. Healthy Diet and Hydration

            A diet high in fiber and low in salt can contribute to overall vascular health and help prevent varicose veins from worsening. Fiber promotes proper digestion and can prevent constipation, which, when present, can contribute to increased pressure on the veins. Additionally, reducing salt intake helps manage fluid retention, reducing leg swelling.

            Staying well-hydrated is also essential for maintaining healthy blood flow. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as coffee, tea, and soft drinks don't contribute much to hydration and are often a source of added sugar.

            6. Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing

              Long periods of sitting or standing can contribute to the development and worsening of varicose veins. When sitting for extended periods, take breaks to stretch your legs and change positions. If your job requires prolonged standing, shift your weight from one leg to another or use a footrest to reduce strain on the calves and lower extremities.

              Regular movement is crucial for preventing blood from pooling in the legs and limiting the symptoms of varicose veins. Making simple lifestyle adjustments, such as taking short walks or doing leg exercises, can significantly reduce the risk of varicose vens.

              7. Medical Treatment Options

                In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary to manage varicose veins effectively. Self-care and lifestyle changes can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms and prevent new ones from forming, but eliminating varicose veins requires medical treatment. Center for Vein Restoration offers the following varicose vein treatment options:

                This treatment offers a non-surgical, minimally invasive solution for various varicose vein issues. The affected veins collapse by injecting a small amount of microfoam, and blood flow redirects to healthier vessels. The advanced and absorbable nature of the foam enhances the effectiveness of this catheter-based technique.

                A safe and efficient treatment, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound guidance to inject a foam medicine (sclerosant) into the problematic vein. This initiates a reaction that closes the vein, with the body absorbing the collapsed vein and redirecting blood flow to healthier veins.

                An FDA-approved microfoam treatment, VenaSeal improves varicose veins' appearance and physical symptoms with minimal downtime. Using a unique medical adhesive, VenaSeal closes varicose veins.

                Combining mechanical (special catheter with a rotating tip) and chemical (medicine that seals off the problematic vein) approaches, ClariVein is a minimally invasive option for treating troublesome veins.

                This procedure involves gently inserting a thin fiber through the skin and into the affected vein. The laser fiber heats the vein, causing it to close. The body naturally reabsorbs the closed vein, rerouting blood through healthier veins.

                Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure. Radiofrequency energy is used to heat and close the walls of the affected vein. The vein is absorbed into the tissue, and blood reroutes to nearby healthy veins.

                This outpatient procedure involves the removal of problematic varicose veins near the skin's surface through tiny puncture incisions without stitches. Local anesthetic ensures patient comfort, and individuals are encouraged to walk immediately and resume normal activities with few restrictions.

                Varicose Vein Treatment at Center for Vein Restoration

                Contact your CVR vascular specialist to discuss your varicose vein symptoms and discover how we can help you. CVR welcomes a range of insurance providers, including Aetna, Amerigroup, Anthem, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, MultiPlan, Medicaid, and Medicare.

                Connect with our dedicated patient Service Representatives or book your consultation at a convenient CVR location. Dial 240-965-3915 or locate a center near you.

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