There are some self-care measures you can take to decrease the discomfort that varicose veins can cause. These same measures can help prevent or slow the development of varicose veins, as well. They include:
Jan. 31, 2013
- Exercise. Get moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Your doctor can recommend an appropriate activity level for you.
- Watch your weight, and your diet. Shedding excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off your veins. What you eat can help, too. Follow a low-salt diet to prevent swelling caused from water retention.
- Watch what you wear. Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for your veins. Don't wear tight clothes around your waist, legs or groin. Tight panty-leg girdles, for instance, can cut off blood flow.
- Elevate your legs. To improve the circulation in your legs, take several short breaks daily to elevate your legs above the level of your heart. For example, lie down with your legs resting on three or four pillows.
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing. Make a point of changing your position frequently to encourage blood flow. Try to move around at least every 30 minutes or so.
- Don't sit with your legs crossed. Some doctors believe this position can increase circulation problems.
- Varicose veins. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_venous_disorders/varicose_veins.html. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/varicose-veins/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Gloviczki P, et al. The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):2s.
- Murad MH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the treatments of varicose veins. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):49S.
- Horse chestnut. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.