Varicose veins are a common part of aging and affects about 60% of the elderly. As we age, the structural integrity of the walls of the veins is significantly affected. This will cause the veins to become twisted and swollen. Aging is just one of the many factors leading to the development of varicose veins. There are other factors such as pregnancy, weight gain and hormonal imbalance that can cause varicose veins.
Treating varicose veins becomes necessary. If left untreated, it can cause many other associated problems. Thanks to the advancements in medical science. The treatment of varicose veins is now a possibility. Although this can happen to any vein in the body. But, it is mainly the leg veins that this happens to in most people.
Understanding varicose veins
Varicose veins occur when there is improper blood flow through the veins in the legs. Our legs contain mainly two types of veins – superficial and deep veins. Superficial veins, as the name suggests are superficially seated near the surface. And the deep veins are deeply seated within our muscles. Under normal circumstances, blood flows from the superficial veins to the deep veins and reaches the heart. These veins have inbuilt one way valves, which ensures that the blood flows in the right direction. But, when these valves leak, then the blood can in some cases flow in the wrong direction. And take the opposite route from deep veins to superficial veins. The blood flow that takes this route gets the blood in the deep veins. This causes great pressure and flows back to the superficial veins and gets pooled there. When these veins swell and bulge due to the accumulation of blood in the superficial veins this creates varicose veins. You can actually see and feel swollen veins beneath the skin.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins can be a cause of great discomfort for our elderly loved ones. However, not many develop symptoms. For those who do, symptoms may include the following:
Pain in the legs
Burning sensation in the skin of the affected leg
Heaviness in the leg
Restless legs syndrome
Development of skin ulcers
Changes in the color of the skin
Physical activity gets limited
Bleeding even from small and minor cuts
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:
The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow.
Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during menopause may be a factor because female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy may increase your risk of varicose veins.
If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will too.
Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
Standing or sitting for long periods of time
Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.
Treatment to get rid or help varicose veins
Varicose veins are a disturbing condition for your loved one. With various treatment options available, our loved ones can reallybenefit from it. However, before considering surgery and other treatment methods. It is necessary that we first consider natural remedies. Furthermore, natural remedies will not pose any side effects unlike other treatment methods. The following is a list of natural remedies, for you to consider for your elderly loved one:
You can purchase these at most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Compression stockings are for your leg muscles. They push the blood upward to provide gradual compression with the strongest support at the ankle. Wear them all day and also rest and put your legs up 10-15 several times a day.
This is by far the best methods to treat varicose veins. With regular exercise, the blood flow improves. And there is a consequent reduction in the inflammation. In addition, if your loved one has a sedentary lifestyle, with little to no exercise. Then it becomes extremely difficult for the veins to pump blood. Furthermore, with regular exercise, there is a reduction in weight. Also, hormonal imbalance also tends to improve gradually. Help your seniors to begin with low impact exercises first. This will exert minimum pressure on their legs. Walking, bycycling and swimming are some of the best examples of low impact exercises. If your loved one complain of pain in the legs after exercise, you can always apply ice packs on the sore muscles. However, the muscle pain would fade away within few days. and this should not stop your seniors from exercising regularly.
Making some changes in the diet, can bring about a significant improvement in varicose veins. Also, include some anti-inflammatory foods in the diet, so that the varicose veins can heal fast and provide quick relief. Poor dietary choices, can worsen varicose veins and aggravate the swelling. Foods with high sodium content, trans fats, processed foods and alcohol can all contribute to hormonal imbalances. It can also cause an increase in weight. Also, increased consumption of foods containing high amount of sugar and caffeine can contribute to poor blood circulation and arterial damage. Some examples of anti – inflammatory foods include high fiber foods, foods rich in antioxidants, magnesium rich foods, apple cider vinegar, foods high in Omega – 3 fatty acids and spices like cayenne pepper.
Natural treatments for varicose veins
Two popular natural herbs are horse chestnut and bilberry. They can do wonders in treating varicose veins. These herbs are not only effective, but also safe as compared to other treatment methods. Take horse chestnut should in doses of 100 mg once daily. And you can take bilberry twice daily, in doses of 160 mg.
A type of bioflavanoid, rutin, can also prove to be beneficial when taken daily. Rutin, works by protecting the walls of the veins and helps relieve swelling and pain. You can find it in hawthorn, pine bark, blueberry, grape seed and other foods that are rich in Vitamin C.
What to do if you must see a physician
Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing. including any that may seem unrelated to varicose veins.
Write down key personal information. Including a family history of varicose veins or spider veins.
Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
Write down questions to ask your doctor.
The above mentioned strategies should help your loved ones lead a comfortable life with varicose veins. Varicose veins normally get worse over time. This is true even if you make the necessary lifestyle changes to control them and manage your pain. While they may be unsightly, they usually don’t cause any long-term medical problems. For more information, check out this site. Also, check out this past post on thinning skin.
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