7/17/2008

Varicose Veins

I started noticing that I had some spider veins on the top of my left knee when I was about 23 or so. I freaked out and immediately did some research on spider veins and varicose veins. I know that varicose veins is common on my Dad's side so I knew I could be susceptable. Nevertheless, after a while I got used to the spider veins and didn't think it was too big a problem.

While I was pregnant, however, I noticed more than just spider veins. I could tell I was developing varicose veins on the backs of my knees and was already starting to feel the ache from them. Horrified - I tried every remedy in the book to help prevent any future problems.

I am only 26 now, but I'm quite certain I have one or two varicose veins on at least one of my legs and starting yesterday, they have really started to ache.

I've decided to pass on a few tips for those who want to prevent ever getting varicose veins, or for those who may already think they are developing some themselves...

(And, "NO", this picture is not a picture of my leg - my varicose veins aren't that bad yet!)

Here are some causes of varicose veins as described off the Mayo Clinic's website:

AGE - Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to malfunction.
SEX - Women are more likely than men are to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.
GENETICS - If other family members had varicose veins, there's a greater chance you will too.
OBESITY - Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
Standing for long periods of time. Your blood doesn't flow as well if you're in the same position for long periods.

In order to prevent or lessen varicose veins you need to:

EXERCISE - When you exercise, you create blood circulations in your legs.
WEIGHT - Obesity causes undue pressure on your veins - watch what you eat by keeping a low-salt/high fiber diet.
CLOTHES - Avoid high heels and tight clothes around your waist, legs, or groin. Tight clothes restrict blood circulation. High heels don't allow your calf muscles to exercise--lower heels will exercise your calf muscles and in turn increase blood circulation. Compression stockings are also helpful in increasing blood circulation in your legs.
MOVEMENT - Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Move around every 30 minutes or more.
ELEVATION - Elevating your legs to at or above your heart level will help make blood circulation easy for your body.
POSTURE - DO NOT sit with your legs crossed. This cuts of blood circulation.
SURGERY - When all else fails, there are simple surgeries that can be performed to either reduce, or in some cases, completely exonerate varicose veins.

If any of you are familiar with this problem and have any other tips to share, please do!