7 Ways to prevent ugly varicose veins
What causes varicose veins? Well, from a medical perspective, this pesky problem happens when the valves inside veins weaken and, as a result, blood pools inside veins, causing them to protrude through the skin. Though some people are more genetically predisposed to develop varicose veins, there are certain ways in which you can work to prevent their formation. These seven helpful tips might just ensure you enjoy a lifetime without unseemly varicose veins!
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1. Let's get physical! If you've been avoiding the gym, it's time to face the dreaded treadmill! Exercise keeps leg muscles working and moving blood back to the heart and lungs, thereby minimizing the chances of blood pooling inside veins.
2. Ditch the heels. I'm sorry to tell you, mami, but heels are no-nos. Flat shoes allow calf muscles to contract fully as you step, thereby promoting blood flow. High heels measuring over 1.5 inches in height, on the other hand, don't allow calf muscles to work as hard.
3. Kick your feet up. At the end of the day, sit down with your legs and feet, propping them on a neaby table or desk so that they're positioned above your heart. Keep them elevated for 10 to 15 minutes, which will alleviate any pressure and help blood flow in the right direction.
4. Uncross those legs. According to Dr. Heidi Waldorf of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, crossing your legs for long periods of time can speed up the development of varicose veins since the position restricts blood flow back to the heart.
5. Avoid knee-high socks. Tight nylon and cotton socks can block blood flow and, as a result, vein walls expand to circumvent this blockage, eventually leading to weakened valves. There are, however, special knee-high socks and pantyhose available at pharmacies that are designed to prevent varicose veins by offering a tighter fit at the ankle and lessening pressure along the calves and thighs.
6. Mind your weight. Almost all studies suggest that a strong link exists between obesity and varicose veins and many doctors believe that being overweight puts undue pressure on the veins inside legs.
7. Standing doesn't mean being still! Just like sitting for hours on end can contribute to varicose veins emerging, standing for long stretches of time can minimize blood flow. Dr. Oz recommends shifting your weight from one leg to the next to keep muscles working. Also try flexing your calf muscles, rocking forward to stand on your toes then shifting your weight back to your heels.\
Above all else, remember that a healthy diet and regular exercise can improve your circulatory system--the key to the varicose vein puzzle.
Image via Corbis