Home Remedies for Varicose Vein Treatments
Home Remedies for Varicose Veins and Vein Disease Prevention
VEIN DISEASE PREVENTION
Among its other benefits, regular exercise is probably the best of the Home Remedies for Varicose Veins for warding off vein disease. This applies to both spider and varicose veins. Obesity is a major risk factor for developing these problems. A healthy diet coupled with a sensible exercise is the best way to maintain your ideal weight. Exercise also improves overall circulation.
MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT VEIN CONDITIONS ARE ONLY A COSMETIC PROBLEM.
Dr. Giraldo, a cosmetic and vein surgeon practicing in Cranberry Twp, Pennsylvania, had this to say about vein disease. “Many patients are told by their family doctors that this is just a cosmetic issue. This isn’t true.” Continues Dr G., “a large number of these patients will eventually develop symptoms such as pain, heaviness, and swelling. These symptoms can be severe.
According to Giraldo, “the most common initial symptoms are a dull ache and a feeling of heaviness. A throbbing sensation, cramping, and even itching are also quite common. None of these are particularly dangerous, but complications do happen. In advanced cases of vein disease non-healing ulcers and potentially dangerous blood clots can occur. These are very rare but still possible. They must be dealt with immediately.
Skin changes are also possible with advanced vein disease. These include discoloration and thickening of the skin. If left untreated, these changes can become permanent. “If you start feeling symptoms or seeing skin changes talk with your family doctor,” says Giraldo. “If not treated promptly the problem will almost certainly get worse over time.”
It’s a common belief that varicose veins are an unavoidable sign of aging.
Growing older can make your existing vein problems worse, but not everyone develops vein disease. “My oldest patient was 91, and my youngest was 20. People can get spider veins and varicose veins at any age,” says Dr. G. “My 20 year old patient had a family history of early onset vein disease.”
Pregnancy is also a major factor. Says Dr. G, “The hormonal changes women experience with pregnancy can definitely make vein problems worse. This also happens with menopause. He continues, “these two reasons alone explain why twice as many women develop vein disease at some point.”
Varicose Veins Aren’t just a female issue.
It’s true that women experience vein problems twice as frequently as men. It’s estimated that about 25% of all women and 10% of men have varicose veins. What this means is that over 100,000 American men have clinically significant varicose veins right now.
One male patient began to notice varicose veins appearing when he was about 20. “They started becoming noticeable after I sprained my ankle badly playing basketball. Now, ten years later I injured my knee. They’ve gotten much worse in the 2 years after that,” he says.
“I began to hear radio ads for vein treatments. I considered it for about a year, then decided to go for it,” he says. “I’m glad I did. It feels like I have new legs. I guess I didn’t realize how bad things had actually gotten,” continues the patient. When asked, he reported that many of his symptoms went away completely. These included a relatively constant ache and heavy sensation. “There’s also less swelling. Now I can play tennis and golf and not worry about how my legs will feel afterwards. Oh, and I also look much better in shorts.”
Running or other exercise doesn’t necessarily make varicose veins worse.
Nearly all types of exercise, including long distance running, is actually good for vein health. “Exercise is great for your circulation,” says Dr. G. “Aerobic exercise also works the calf muscles, which help pump blood back to your heart.”
In patients with severe varicose veins it’s still a good idea to wear compression stockings, however. I recommend that my patients who have had surgical treatment wear them,” says G. I also tell them to elevate their legs for a while after running. It’s really a matter of common sense. If you’ve already developed veins bad enough to treat it pays to take precautions.”
Varicose veins aren’t visible in all cases.
“If you’ve got varicose veins you can see, then there’s a lot more going on deeper,” says Dr. Gibson. “In fact the vein disease you can see is almost always caused by veins beneath the surface. The surface stuff is just the tip of the iceberg in most cases.”
Treatments such as Radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser therapy target these deeper veins. “Unless you treat the underlying problem your veins are almost guaranteed to get worse over time,” says Giraldo.
Prolonged standing might not make varicose veins worse.
Lots of people have jobs which require prolonged standing. Examples includes hairdressers, nurses, construction workers, and teachers. If you’re on your feet a lot at work you might have varicose veins or other vein problems. But then again you might not.
“There’s been some debate lately about whether or not standing actually contributes to varicose veins,” says Dr. G. “We certainly know that people experience more symptoms when standing for long periods. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s making the underlying problem worse.”
Changing your lifestyle can help with symptoms.
A few simple at-home treatments can reduce the symptoms of varicose veins in most patients. These include wearing prescription compression stockings and elevating the feet while resting. These proven methods will lessen symptoms, but won’t improve the underlying vein disease.
More active measures matter even more. Specifically, we’re referring to a sensible diet and a program of regular exercise. “This makes a big difference,” says Dr. Andy Alexis of Mt. Sinai New York’s Department of Dermatology. He explains that “obesity both causes and worsens all types of vein disease, including varicose veins. Especially varicose veins. To date there’s only one way to maintain a healthy weight—diet and exercise.” An added benefit of exercise is that it works the calf muscles. These powerful lower extremity muscles help pump blood back up the legs towards the heart.
The recovery time after vein procedures is usually short and without complications.
Modern techniques such as Radiofrequency (RF) ablation and sclerotherapy are very minimally invasive. This means much shorter recovery times without many adverse reactions, including scarring. “My patients love these procedures. We use these techniques right in our office and they take about an hour,” says G. “Most patients can return to work that same day. And full recovery usually occurs within 4 weeks. This is a far cry from older techniques such as vein stripping.”
Varicose veins prevention and self-care
- Take sitting breaks : if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time. Also make sure to work your calf muscles by pumping your calves against the floor. This “toeing off” motion helps pump blood back towards the heart. It’s also advisable to wear prescription compression hose during prolonged standing.
- Limit sitting for long periods as well: if you’ve got a desk job or tend to sit a lot take periodic breaks. Get up and move every 45-60 minutes, even if it’s just to walk around the office for a few minutes. As with prolonged standing, engaging the large muscles of the legs will help pump blood back towards the heart.
- Take regular walks: if you don’t engage in other exercise which work the leg muscles be sure to take regular walks. This engages the leg muscles, especially the calves. Even walking every other day for 20 minutes can greatly improve the overall circulation of your legs.
- Don’t wear tight, restrictive clothing: this especially applies to pants which are tight around the waist. This can make it more difficult for blood to travel back up your legs.
- Maintain a reasonable weight: this is one of the best way to keep new varicose veins from forming. It can also reduce any symptoms you might be experiencing. Note that losing weight may even reduce the appearance of your existing veins.
- Lower your sodium intake: limit your use of table salt and avoid sodium-heavy processed foods such as canned soup. Excessive salt intake causes water retention and can make your swelling worse.
- Elevate your legs when resting: this is a simple and effective way to reduce swelling. Simply keep your feet propped up when lying on the couch or in a recliner. When sleeping, use pillows to slightly elevate your legs.
- Topical witch hazel ointment: the astringent properties of witch hazel are known to ease vein-related discomfort. Witch hazel comes in gels and creams. It’s inexpensive and can be bought at any drug store.
- Butcher's broom supplements: more study is needed, but many believe that this herb is effective for swelling and other lower extremity vein symptoms. It’s available at most pharmacies in the supplements section.
- Ginkgo biloba supplements: ginkgo has long been thought to improve circulation. Gotu kola and capsicum are also believed to be therapeutic.
- Coenzyme Q10 supplements: this supplement has been clinically shown to the oxygenation of blood and improve circulation.
- Vitamin C: this water soluble vitamin can strengthen vein walls when taken over a period of months. It also promotes healing and acts as a mild blood thinner.
- White oak bark supplements: the chemical compounds in white oak bark are believed to reduce inflammation of the vein walls. It may also tighten stretched out vein walls in some patients.
- Omega 3 oils: these naturally occurring fats are one of the few very well-researched popular supplements. Regularly supplementing Omega 3s has been proven to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Omega 3 oils also have mild anti-inflammatory properties. When taken regularly, Omega 3s may lessen symptoms of varicose veins by reducing the inflammation associated with vein disease.