Taking care of yourself and your body is a complex task, but there are a number of easy steps you can take to make sure your vascular system is in good shape. If you are already struggling with minor medical issues like aching legs or varicose veins, the pain or discomfort of these can be easily alleviated by taking steps like walking, elevating the legs, eating healthy food, and using compression stockings.
What is the Vascular System?
The vascular system is the complex network of veins and arteries, as well as your capillaries. These vessels carry blood and oxygen around the body. Blood is pumped from the heart down into the arteries, which move the blood down throughout your body and into the capillaries. The veins then pump the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
What Problems Can Arise?
The biggest problems that people face with regard to the vascular system, are problems with vascular diseases or weakened veins and arteries. One of the most visible and common problems is varicose veins, which can arise at many different life stages and for various different reasons.
Varicose veins are caused when the vein is weakened, and can no longer effectively pump blood back to the heart. This causes blood to pool in the vein, and may cause inflammation and swelling in the area around the vein and the weakened area. Dr. Chaloner, a varicose vein expert, notes that “in the initial phase of varicose vein development, patients will notice some enlarging blue veins usually on the calf area. Initially these veins will not typically be painful. They are usually more obvious in slim people and in those with pale skin.” Blood can seep into the surrounding tissue and results in pain and sometimes a rash on the skin around the area.
A flow-on and more complex issue is that blood clots can also form in a weakened vein, because inflammation can also cause other areas of the vein to narrow, and allow clots to form in the area or debris to get trapped. Varicose veins and related problems are common as people age, but also can arise during pregnancy or for people who spend large periods of time standing or walking.
How Can You Fix These Issues?
One of the simplest ways to tackle varicose veins, spider veins, and to prevent blood clots is to ensure that the blood flow in the legs is consistent and not too strenuous or too sedentary. This means that if you have a very sedentary job or spend long periods of time sitting, you should make sure that you get up and walk around regularly. Alternatively, if your work involves a lot of standing or walking, make sure that you take breaks to sit down, and where possible you should elevate your feet. This can help to relieve pressure on the veins and allow the valves to work more easily when they pump the blood back towards your heart.
Next, look into whether compression stockings may be help to alleviate your varicose vein symptoms. There are a number of different types of stockings with varying levels of compression, depending on your needs and how severe the problem is. Dr. Chaloner also explains that “whilst waiting for treatment, the use of compression stockings can be helpful to treat the symptoms of aching and heaviness of the legs. Stockings need to be measured correctly for each person and be of good quality to give the right level of compression.” Stockings can help to reduce symptoms, but they will not be a substitute for treatment if it is required.
Finally, make sure that you eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water, as this kind of healthy lifestyle affects your vascular health just like it affects the other parts of your body.
Take care to look into whether you are protecting your vein health, understand the signs of problems, and look into preventative measures such as making adjustments to your daily routines, examining the benefits of compression stockings, and managing your diet. By taking these steps, you can make sure that your vascular system stays in good shape.