4 Ways to Battle Vein Problems and When You Should Seek Help
By Dr. Wade Kang, Bronson Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Specialists
As seen in Scene Magazine, December 2019
Wade Kang, MD, FACS
There is nothing worse than heavy, aching legs and feet. While we all have days when we experience issues with our legs and feet, it’s crucial to reach out if you feel it might be something more serious. Did you know that nearly 60 percent of Americans suffer from vein disorders according to WebMD? And, it’s not just women who are affected, about a quarter of those dealing with vein disorders are men.
How can you tell if you have vein problems that should be treated?
It’s important to know your symptoms and take action. If left untreated, varicose veins can become venous insufficiency, a more serious yet treatable condition. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Bulging or ropy veins
- Muscle cramping
- Leg heaviness/ache felt on the side, ankles, calves and/or feet
- Lower leg and ankle swelling
- Skin color changes
What can I do to fight vein problems?
Vein problems, both medical and cosmetic, have several risk factors that can lead to bulgy, spidery, unsightly veins on your legs. To combat the problem, follow these tips to take action and return your legs to looking and feeling good.
Ways that you can fight unsightly veins:
- You are what you eat. Your diet is important to keep in check to help manage your weight. Make sure you’re incorporating leafy greens, whole grains and fresh fruits into every meal. You also want to cut back on your salt intake and consuming processed foods. Salt can lead to water retention, which is something to avoid for your vascular health.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking is just not good for your body and that includes your venous system. Smoking shrinks your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow and damaging your veins in the process.
- Hit the gym. Leading an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise will help increase strength, circulation, and make your veins stronger. Working out your legs and building muscle tone can help prevent future vein problems.
- Keep moving. Working in an office or a job that doesn’t involve a lot of activity can put you at a higher risk for vein problems. Quitting your job isn’t the solution – just incorporate some simple legs exercises while at your desk or set an alarm to remind you to stand up, stretch and take a walk. In addition, try to keep your legs elevated when sitting still for long periods of time. This helps improve your circulation. Standing for long periods during the day can be a problem, too. If you have a job that keeps you on your feet, compression socks may help. Compression on your legs creates comfortable, steady pressure that allows blood to flow throughout your legs and reduces the risk of vein problems and clotting.
When should I seek help?
If these tips don’t provide relief and your vein problems are still keeping you from living life to its fullest, it’s important to seek help for your symptoms.
And, there’s no better time than winter to address issues with your veins. Why?
- Skin - It is more difficult to treat veins when your skin is tanned. This is because tanning makes skin less elastic, alters its normal pigmentation and zaps moisture out of it. Winter weather makes it easier to avoid direct sunlight exposure a week before and after your appointment, which is highly recommended for optimal results.
- Clothing - Winter is the perfect time to bundle up and protect your skin from the sun. It is also the most convenient season to wear compression stockings, which you are advised to wear before and after treatment. These not only provide an extra layer of warmth, but also help improve blood flow which is critical during vein treatments.
- Downtime - Winter is a less active season allowing you to rest up and closely monitor your progress. Even though this is an outpatient procedure, you still should give your body enough time to appropriately heal after a treatment.
The Bronson Vein Clinic in Battle Creek was designed specifically for the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease. Vein Clinic services include screening, testing and evaluation to identify the most appropriate treatment options for both medical and cosmetic vein problems. To schedule a free screening, call (269) 341-7333 or visit bronsonhealth.com/veins.
Wade Kang, MD, FACS, is a vascular surgeon at Bronson Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Specialists. He combines medical therapy, traditional open surgical techniques and modern endovascular advancements to provide the best care possible for his patients.