Did you know that over 80 million Americans are currently living with varicose veins? That's around 23% of the population.
Varicose issues are caused when veins in the lower limbs become twisted and swollen. As a result, the condition can be painful and unsightly; therefore, living with the problem can be challenging.
The good news is that there are a whole host of coping strategies and emotional support techniques that allow you to manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
Let's take a closer look at some of them.
Firstly, coping strategies
Regular exercise helps to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of developing more varicose veins. Simple, low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling are a great place to start. If you're not used to exercising, consider starting gently and increasing activity levels as you become more proficient.
Regular exercise increases blood flow from the lower limbs back towards the heart. It also helps to keep any weight down, which, in turn, decreases the chances of experiencing further vein problems.
If you have a sedentary job that entails prolonged periods of sitting or standing, then factor in short breaks where you move around to stretch your legs. Research suggests moving around every thirty to sixty minutes for 3 minutes at a time.
Wear compression stockings
Compression stockings may appear uncomfortable initially, but they help support the legs' veins while improving blood flow. Compression stockings come in various pressure levels and should be worn throughout the day. Your doctor or specialist can advise you on which pressure level they recommend for your condition. So it's best to talk to them first before you buy.
Elevating the legs
In addition to gentle exercise, elevation is a proven way to reduce leg pain. Raising your legs above your heart can reduce any discomfort or swelling caused by varicose veins as it prevents blood from collecting or pooling in the leg area. So every time you sit, look to prop your legs up with several cushions.
Limit any leg-raising activity to fifteen minutes; otherwise, you may suffer from cramping or pins and needles.
Another factor in successfully living with varicose veins is maintaining a healthy and varied diet. Foods, for example, that are low in salt and high in fiber, are ideal for varicose veins.
A high-fiber diet, for example, supports bowel regularity. A regular bowel helps reduce the risk of constipational straining. Any applied pressure when straining to go to the bathroom can place more pressure on bodily veins causing further discomfort.
For this reason, eat plenty of foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like chicken.
Obesity is a big problem throughout the world but particularly in the US. According to reports, over 70 million Americans are classed as clinically obese, and a further 99 million are overweight. That's approximately 42% of the population.
Any excess weight places extra pressure on veins as your body must work harder to pump blood around the body and back to the heart. Excess pressure can cause additional discomfort and the chance of developing other varicose veins.
Try to manage weight through diet and regular exercise. Many helpful apps and guides are available, some of which are free.
For example, MyPlate Plan from the US Department of Agriculture is a free guide. It advises people on calorie counting to food groups and helps you follow a rounded and balanced diet for weight loss.
Now you have all the tools you need to cope with the day-to-day life of varicose veins, what about living with the emotional aspect of this issue?
Speak to your doctor
Your doctor is the best person to talk to when you feel self-conscious about your veins or are emotionally challenged by the problem. They can provide information and advice about living with varicose veins or refer you to other medical professionals or vascular specialists. They can talk you through your treatment options and help you choose a treatment that's right for you.
Talk to friends and family or other like-minded people
Family and friends can be a great sounding board for your feelings. Sometimes, talking about issues caused by varicose veins can make the problem easier to cope with.
Understandably, you may feel angry, overwhelmed or depressed, particularly if you get no relief from the discomfort. Acknowledging these feelings with your loved ones may better help you cope with the situation.
There are also many online support groups, informational sites and forums for those living with varicose veins, so you might want to reach out.
When you share your everyday experiences with those who are going through the same problems, it can make coping easier.
Practice relaxation techniques
Stress can worsen the symptoms of varicose veins, so when you feel stressed, try to initiate techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
Try to build one or more of these techniques into your daily routine where possible.
So there you have it, living with varicose veins and how to cope both emotionally and physically.
Of course, you don't have to live with varicose veins if you don't want to. Several surgical and non-surgical treatments are available to eradicate unsightly and uncomfortable veins.
The Midwest Institute of Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT) has several advanced and proven non-surgical treatments that can relieve leg discomfort or unsightly veins.
Call 314 -255-2204 and talk to Dr Akinwande today or schedule an appointment online at one of our convenient locations in St Louis, MO and Wentzville, MO and Swansea, IL, Evergreen Park, IL and Chicago, IL.