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Varicose veins prevention

Self-help and lifestyle advice to prevent or reduce the symptoms of varicose veins

Working in a sedentary job? Standing for long periods of time? Not at your ideal weight? Have you been pregnant recently? Do you have a family history of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are a common health problem with a number of causes and the potential to give rise to a variety of symptoms. If you suffer from the problem, you may already know of the varicose vein treatments available.

This page provides you with some self-help and lifestyle advice to prevent or reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. Here are some things you can do to try to improve the health of your legs:

  • Exercise. Veins need daily activity so exercise is key to healthy veins. Regular contraction of muscles in your calves help to move blood from your legs back into your heart. Brisk walking (even 10 minutes each day), cycling or swimming are all good to get the blood in your legs flowing and help prevent the problem of varicose veins
  • Elevate. Take 10 minute breaks each day to elevate your legs above the level of your heart. A simple way of achieving this is by lying down and resting your legs on a stack of pillows.
  • Control your weight. Being heavier than you should be puts unnecessary pressure on your legs and the blood in your leg veins
  • Breathe. Make sure you breathe deeply and often to get oxygen into your bloodstream which will help your blood move better round your body
  • Wear loose clothing. Tight clothes around your calves or groin can restrict circulation, which can prevent or interrupt the normal flow out of your legs
  • Avoid high heels. These may look good, but are bad for your circulation. Low-heeled shoes make the muscles in your calves work better
  • Avoid very hot baths. Heat slows down the circulation in your legs in a number of ways. This also applies to saunas and long periods of sunbathing.
  • Shower your legs with cold water. The sudden change in temperature helps ‘exercise’ the veins by making them contract
  • Do not cross your legs. This obstructs the circulation and prevents blood from flowing back towards the heart. And, if you are standing for a while, make a point of changing your position, shifting from one leg to another as often as you can. Try some leg exercises whilst standing up, wiggle your toes now and again
  • Prevent constipation. Make sure you have plenty of fibre, fruit and vegetables in your diet so that you move your bowels at least once a day.



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