What Causes Varicose & Spider Veins?
Varicose and spider veins are two common venous conditions that tend to develop as our bodies age. While these vascular issues are usually fairly harmless, they can become unsightly and even painful if left unmanaged. Varicose veins are large, bulky and ropelike and are most commonly found in the legs. On the other hand, spider veins are thin and weblike, usually forming in the legs but can be found on many other areas of the body as well.
Are more people susceptible to venous conditions than others? From genetics to lifestyle choices, there are a wide variety offactors that can compromise the health of your circulatory system. Here are a few of the most common ones that you should be aware of:
- Family History: Studies have shown that the development of varicose or spider veins is often hereditary, so it’s important to know your family’s vascular history.
- Age: Like many other body systems, your veins tend to weaken over time, making you more susceptible to have vein complications as you get older.
- Gender: While women are more likely to develop spider or varicose veins in their lifetime, men can often develop them as well. However, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and menopause boost the risk factor for women greatly.
- Obesity: Those who are overweight are more likely to have poor circulation. The heavier you are, the more strain and stress will be put on your veins, making them more likely to become damaged, bulged or burst.
- Physical Activity: Exercising regularly can help keep your blood flowing strong, minimizing the opportunities for spider or varicose veins to form. On the contrary, sitting or standing for a long time, especially with legs crossed or bent, can be detrimental.
- Occupation: Since staying active can have such a profound impact on your vascular health, working jobs where physical activity is lacking can be risky. Some of the most common professions where vein health is at risk are teaching, nursing and hair styling.
If you or a loved one is suffering from varicose or spider veins and is seeking treatment, you’re in luck!Island Vein Specialists offers a wide assortment of corrective vein procedures for patients on Long Island and in the surrounding areas.
Signs and Symptoms of Poor Circulation
Heart attacks, strokes, and damaged veins are just some of the many health problems associated with poor circulation. Blood keeps the body and its organs functioning properly by delivering valuable oxygen and nutrients with the help of your circulatory system. When your circulation isn’t up to par, you might notice changes in your body that can severely affect your day-to-day life and can lead to larger problems down the road.
Numb or Tingling Sensations: We’ve all experienced that pins and needles feeling that occurs when a foot or other body part “falls asleep.” While this is a normal sensation, experiencing it more frequently can indicate an issue with your body’s blood flow.
Memory Loss: Blood fuels every part of your body, including your brain. When circulation is poor your brain may not be getting enough oxygen and nutrients. This results in decreased cognitive function, which can affect clear thinking and memory.
Decreased Appetite or Digestive Issues: When your gastrointestinal tract does not receive proper blood flow it cannot break down and digest food efficiently. Since your body is metabolizing food slowly, or not at all, you’ll be less likely to feel hungry and more likely to experience nausea and bowel issues.
Lack of Energy: If your circulation is inadequate your body is not receiving the energy it requires to function. As a result, you may become tired and sluggish while your body tries to preserve the little energy it has left.
Cold, Discolored or Swollen Extremities: If your fingers and toes are always freezing, chances are your blood is having a hard time reaching those areas. You may also notice that your hands and feet begin to swell or turn a bluish color, which indicates an inability for your blood vessels to hold fluid or a lack of oxygen, respectively.
Weak Hair and Nails: In order for your nails and hair to grow long and strong, your scalp, fingers and toes must be filled with nutrient-rich blood. Brittle hair and chipping nails show signs that your blood is not delivering necessary nutrients.
Spider or Varicose Veins: Do you notice thin, weblike, purple veins just below the skin’s surface, or bulging rope-like veins on your legs? If so, that means that your blood is not circulating properly through your legs, vein valves are malfunctioning, and blood is pooling.
After reading through these signs and symptoms, are you concerned that you may have poor circulation? If so, see your physician immediately to determine proper treatments, and pay close attention to your vascular health. If you notice any unsightly or painful veins,Island Vein Specialists is here to help. As a leading vascular surgeon at Long Island’s #1 vein practice, Dr. John Gallagher offers corrective vein treatment procedures to patients throughout Long Island, Queens and the surrounding areas.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Exercising for Healthy Veins
The Do’s & Don’ts of Exercising for Healthy Veins
The best way to protect your legs from developing varicose and spider veins is by staying active and exercising regularly. However, don’t mistake all exercise efforts as having equal benefits. Failing to exercise properly or performing certain frowned upon exercises can actually have more repercussions than advantages to your vascular health.
To make sure your trip to the gym isn’t wasted, here are some quick tips on the do’s and don’ts of promoting healthy veins through exercise:
- DO wear compression socks to help your blood flow effectively through your legs and back up to your heart. Compression socks offer added support for your veins and are especially recommended for exercises that require a lot of sitting or standing still.
- DO keep your legs elevated whenever possible. Machines like the leg press and others that allow your legs to remain level with or above your heart help reduce vein pressure and keep blood flowing while you workout.
- DO hop on a bicycle if you have the chance. With fall weather in full swing, a leisurely bike ride is both enjoyable and beneficial to your vascular health. Not up for a ride outdoors? Try a stationary bike. Both options are great for stretching and strengthening your leg muscles without causing excessive stress on your joints.
- DO take a walk once in awhile. Whether you make it a habit to take fido for a daily stroll, or are committed to the treadmill, walking is the best thing you can do to improve circulation in your legs.
- DON’T hold your breath, especially while doing strenuous exercises. As a general rule, you should always practice proper breathing when doing any sort of physical activity to improve blood flow and avoid tensing up and straining your muscles.
- DON’T run on hard surfaces for long periods of time. While walking is extremely beneficial for your veins, running can be harmful if done incorrectly. Running outdoors is great for your health, as long as you avoid the pavement and try to seek out softer surfaces, like grass, sand or a track designed for repetitive running.
- DON’T lift heavy weights. Lifting heavy loads puts a lot of stress on your leg muscles, causing you to strain and put pressure on your veins. If you absolutely must lift weights, stay away from pumping so much iron and stick to lighter loads with less reps.
As you work to keep healthy exercise habits, are there any specific exercises that you find work wonders to make your veins healthy and strong? If so, we’d love to hear all about them in the comments below or on ourFacebook page!
If you already have varicose or spider veins that you’d like to get rid of,Island Vein Specialists offers a wide assortment of corrective vein procedures to patients on Long Island and in the surrounding areas.
To learn more about how we can help you prevent or treat venous conditions, click here to visit us on the web or call 631-482-9800 to schedule a consultation with Dr. John Gallagher today.