At Vascular Vein Centers, our board-certified specialists evaluate and treat a full scope of vein problems — from cosmetic vein concerns to chronic vascular conditions — every day. And every day, we field a lot of questions about vein health from patients across Central Florida.
Whether we’re resolving unsightly spider veins, getting rid of problematic varicose veins, or addressing serious, long-standing venous complications like leg swelling, skin changes, open ulcer wounds, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), one thing most of our patients want to know is how they can actively foster better vein health.
Here, we explore common vein problems and offer five healthy habits you can adopt today to support better vein health.
Common vein problems
Vein problems are exceptionally common among US adults: As many as one in three US adults has large, bulging varicose veins, and about four in five Americans have sprawling networks of visible spider veins. Let’s take a closer look at these common concerns:
Varicose veins and spider veins
When the one-way valves in your leg veins become weak or dysfunctional, blood doesn’t flow as efficiently as it should back to your heart. Instead, it pools behind them and exerts pressure on the surrounding vessel wall, causing it to swell. Repeated pooling and swelling can stretch and twist the vein, causing it to distort over time.
Varicose veins occur when this process affects sections of large sub-surface veins, while spider veins develop when it happens through networks of smaller surface veins.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
Venous insufficiency is the long-standing state of having poor circulation and sluggish blood flow in your leg veins because of dysfunctional vein valves. Without treatment, CVI can lead to serious complications like leg swelling (edema), skin changes (stasis dermatitis), and open, slow-healing sores (venous ulcers).
Improve your vein health
Although several key risk factors for vein problems — including older age, female gender, and family history — are outside your control, many of the things that make you more susceptible to vein issues can be managed and mitigated.
Luckily, every step you take to foster healthier veins also promotes better circulation, stronger overall health, and improved well-being. Here are five ways to start supporting optimum vein health today:
1. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
Spending prolonged stretches of time sitting or on your feet can be equally bad for your lower extremity circulation, making blood flow sluggish and placing extra stress on your vein valves.
Instead, do your best to mix it up: If you have a desk job, for example, take frequent standing or walking breaks, and if your occupation keeps you on your feet, take time to sit throughout the day.
2. Make daily exercise a top priority
Staying physically active is one of the best ways to improve vein health and support optimum circulation in your lower extremities. It doesn’t have to be complex, either — just taking a short, brisk walk most days can promote stronger muscles and a more efficient, oxygen-rich blood flow that helps take pressure off your veins.
If you don’t have time for a single 30- to 45-minute walk, it’s fine to break your daily exercise goal into shorter sessions (i.e., take a 10- or 15-minute walk after each meal); when it comes to vein health, the beneficial effects are the same.
3. Keep your body properly hydrated
A well-hydrated body is more likely to have thinner blood that circulates more easily and clots less readily. So, what’s the easiest way to tell if you’re well-hydrated? Always quench your thirst, and drink enough fluids to mostly maintain pale yellow or colorless (clear) urine. Water is the best choice, while sugary beverages are the unhealthiest hydration option.
4. Work toward a healthier weight
Carrying excess body weight places your veins under a greater amount of pressure. This can be particularly problematic as you get older, since aging vein valves are more vulnerable to weakness and dysfunction.
We know that weight loss isn’t always easy, but every little bit helps: Losing just 5-10% of your body weight (i.e., 13-26 pounds if you weigh 260 pounds) can go a long way in reducing unnecessary vein pressure and improving circulation. Your initial success can make you feel better, too, giving you the energy and drive you need to keep working toward your goal.
5. Consider wearing compression socks
If older age, family history, pregnancy, or having a job that keeps you on your feet leaves you at risk of developing vein problems, wearing compression stockings is one of the smartest things you can do for vein health. These custom garments help prevent varicose veins, spider veins, and CVI by assisting and improving circulation in your lower legs.
Get help for vein problems
Most importantly, if you have leg vein problems, come see our team at Vascular Vein Centers. Call or click online to schedule a visit at your nearest office: We have six office locations in College Park of Orlando, Waterford Lakes of East Orlando, Kissimmee, Davenport/Haines City, Lake Mary, and The Villages, Florida.