Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins, those large, swollen, ropy veins that are typically dark blue or purple in color. The Society for Interventional Radiology estimates that 15 to 25% of adults have varicose veins, with rates jumping to half of all adults over age 50. The good news is that there are effective ways to get rid of varicose veins. Learn how lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of future varicose veins while effective vein clinic treatments can get rid of existing vein problems.
How to Lower Your Risk of Getting Varicose Veins
Your veins traverse the length of your body, delivering deoxygenated blood back to the heart to be replenished with nutrients. Veins rely on blood pressure and special valves to keep blood flowing the correct direction. When the walls of the veins become thinner or weak, they tend to bulge outward and have difficulty pushing blood toward the heart. This is particularly problematic for the long veins of your legs, which must deliver blood from your feet back up to the heart.
Certain lifestyle factors make it more likely that you will develop varicose veins. If you want to prevent varicose veins from forming, try the following suggestions:
Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. People who are constantly on their feet at work, such as factory line workers or baristas, are more likely to have blood pooling in their legs. Whenever possible, keep moving to promote better blood flow.
Elevate your legs. Sleeping with a pillow under your ankles can keep blood flowing efficiently.
Lose weight. People who are overweight or obese tend to put a greater strain on their cardiovascular systems. Losing weight lowers your risk of varicose veins.
Exercise. Physical activity improves muscle tone and vascular health. Additionally, moving more frequently keeps your blood pumping properly through your veins.
How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins
Although lifestyle factors can make it less likely that you will get varicose veins in the future, the veins you have cannot be removed through lifestyle changes alone. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective treatments to get rid of varicose veins. For example, VNUS Closure and endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) use radiofrequency and laser energy, respectively, to close affected veins. The veins are then reabsorbed by the body. Another treatment, called sclerotherapy, collapses veins using a special chemical. In contrast, ambulatory phlebectomy involves the manual removal of the vein through a tiny incision.
There are pros and cons to each of these forms of treatment. That is why it is important for you to talk to your varicose vein specialist today. Together, you can determine what type of treatment makes the most sense for you and create an individualized treatment plan.