Don’t laugh, but it’s true that a neighbor-friend of mine was hanging some clothes to dry in the sun when suddenly a pair of their roaming chickens pecked on her legs which had worm-like varicose veins. Oh yes! Real worm-size veins at the back of her legs!
Her family had a laughter-filled afternoon, but afterwards, she was feeling more worried owing to the rope-like protrusions which sometimes hurt. She has decided never to wear skirts or shorts anymore (thanks to those chickens!).
Varicose veins usually don’t cause any pain and are more common in women, but they also affect a large number of men, too. You see, as we get older, it isn’t unlikely for us to also develop varicose veins, but of course, varicose veins can form at any age, especially when it runs in the family.
With some women, varicose veins first appear or become more prominent during their menstruation period or when they become pregnant. Some people don’t even have painful symptoms at all; just cosmetic concerns. Some aren’t even sure if they can identify varicose veins at all.
Identifying varicose veins is relatively easy:
- Appearance – when your veins are protruding, appear twisted or bulging from under the skin; looks like cords and usually dark purple or bluish in color
- When there’s an achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- When there’s some burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
- When pain becomes worse after prolonged standing or even sitting
- When you experience severe pain upon standing or may also have cramps in the legs at night
- When you feel some itching around one or more of your veins
When skin ulcers develop near your ankle, it may indicate a serious form of vascular disease which requires medical attention ASAP!
Can varicose veins be prevented?
The medical researchers tell us that there is no sure way to prevent the formation of varicose veins, BUT there are a number of things we can do to decrease our chances of developing these protruding veins.
What we need to do:
- Exercise regularly ; walk or jog to improve circulation in the legs, and ward off varicose veins.
- Avoid prolonged standing because standing in one place for a long time increases venous pressure in your legs and feet, which could weaken the blood vessel walls. If your work or tasks requires you to stand a lot, and you have exhausted all appeals to do your work sitting down ^_^ , you might as well resort to wearing mild compression stockings to help your blood pump more efficiently back to the heart.
- Aspire to have an ideal body weight in order to promote efficient functioning of your circulatory system. Obesity may cause you to put excess pressure on your legs. Develop healthy eating habits to reap a whole host of health benefits, and subsequently reduce your risk on developing varicose vein.
- Stop smoking….totally because it contributes to numerous health problems; high blood pressure associated with smoking is also one of the causes of varicose veins.
- Put your feet up for a while after prolonged standing in order to relax your legs; and thereby improve circulation when elevating your legs and feet for several minutes throughout the day or after your work shift. You may also try using an inversion table or elevating the foot of your bed so that your feet are slightly higher than your head when you sleep to take pressure off your legs and let gravity act on your body differently from time to time to help prevent blood from pooling in the veins.
- Include high-fiber foods in your diet such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains like bran because constipation may also contribute to varicose veins.
- Control your salt-intake because salt or sodium can cause you to retain water or swell, and may extend to the veins on your legs.
- Do some wardrobe review and set aside (or give away) those tight-fitting jeans and clothes which restricts appropriate circulation to your lower body.
- Avoid wearing of high heels as much as possible because the stress on your lower legs can cause a constriction in blood flow from the leg back to the heart. Comfortable, low-heeled and properly fitted shoes are preferable for healthy feet and legs.
- Sit up straight as what our teachers always tell us in school; constantly reminding us that good posture improves circulation.
- Wear compression stockings or support hose to help your blood pump more efficiently back to the heart, especially when you are starting to develop varicose veins. Make sure you get the proper fit and compression level.
- Keep your legs uncrossed when sitting because crossing your legs slows down the upward flow of blood back to the heart and increases the pressure on the insides of your leg veins.
- Minimize or totally avoid high-estrogen birth control pills which have been shown to increase the risk of varicose veins by altering circulatory valve functioning. Ask your doctor about other options.
The tips enumerated above could help prevent varicose veins from developing or worsening and may substantially reduce the size and minimize the pain felt from the existing ones, but seek medical assistance as soon as you can if you experience severe pain.
There are available treatments such as: sclerotherapy, laser surgery, and vein stripping, but of course, as always >>> ‘prevention is better than cure” (and pecking chickens???) Lol