When we hear the word varicose veins, the first thing we would usually imagine is that it is a problem commonly and mostly encountered by women. Unfortunately, even men can develop these unsightly veins as well. Varicose veins are characterized as bulgy and thick veins that jut out slightly on the surface of our skin and it generally appears dark blue or purplish in color.
According to several scientific evidence, it is reported that an estimate of 50 percent of women while only around 40 percent of men get affected by this problem. Furthermore, it is seen mostly in individuals 50 years old and above.
While it is a problem faced by women mostly, anyone of all ages and races can also be affected. Varicose veins are also a big reason for concern particularly for people with lighter skin.
Varicose veins – what causes them?
When our veins are not working normally, varicose veins occur. To better understand the anatomy of our blood vessels, our veins have valves that stream in one direction so that our blood does not flow backwards. However, when these valves do not function anymore, our blood starts to accumulate in the veins instead of moving to our heart. Since the veins on our legs are farthest from our heart, blood cannot flow upward due to gravity. That why varicose veins are commonly seen around the legs, particularly the back of the thighs. As a result, the veins start to bulge out on the surface of our skin.
Other reasons that can potentially cause varicose veins to include:
– Individuals who are at the age of 50 and above
– Women who are pregnant or have just given birth
– Individuals whose work requires long hours of standing
– Women who are going through menopause
– Being excessively overweight
– Having family members who also suffer from varicose veins
– Individuals who are living a sedentary lifestyle
– Blood clot or veins that are inflamed from injuries or surgery
The severity of varicose veins and means of treatment
Varicose veins may look unsightly and can be a concern especially when wanting to wear shorts or skirts during the hot weather. However, in many cases, varicose veins are not a medical condition to worry about too much. Varicose veins are more likely to be considered as a cosmetic issue.
Usually, the blood that is collected in the veins only amounts a little while most flow back to the our heart. However, the moment varicose veins appear on your skin, it should also be considered a sign that the blood flow in your veins is clogged.
Although rare, varicose veins can burst and cause complications on the skin like wounds or sores and swelling. When this happens, it becomes painful with symptoms like muscle aches or swelling around the legs and ankles. This then makes it difficult for a person to do normal tasks like sleep, work, walk and even exercise. Having this often means that there is an underlying condition in the blood known as venous insufficiency.
Preventing and treating varicose veins is relatively easy and can be done naturally. Although there are prescription creams or laser surgeries that are expensive, they should be considered as last options and can only apply if the condition is severe. Below are seven effective ways to naturally treat and prevent varicose veins:
- Lose the excess pounds of your body by eating healthy
Being overweight runs the likely chance of developing varicose veins. It is because there is too much pressure for proper circulation of your blood in the body. Additionally, eating less salt can minimize the chances of water retention. A suggested diet to reduce inflammation and swelling would include foods that are a good source of fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, and natural diuretics.
- Get yourself active and exercise
A sedentary lifestyle would always mean gaining weight easily. Not only can exercise keep you healthy and maintain the ideal weight, but it can also help with promoting healthy blood circulation. Try doing light to moderate exercises at least 15 to 30 minutes a day.
- For women or ladies, be wary about what you put on
Frequently wearing high heels can also put pressure on your veins and make it difficult for your blood to circulate properly. Similarly, try also not wearing too tight clothing particularly around the waist and groin as it can also limit blood flow.
- Putting back hormonal balance with essential oils
Hormones that are imbalanced especially in women who are pregnant or going through menopause can also develop varicose veins. The solution for hormonal imbalances is the use of essential oils. Moreover, essential oils have been proven to reduce inflammation and promote healthy blood flow. Try applying a few drops of essential oils like cypress, peppermint, tea tree or lavender oil to the problem areas twice a day for a few weeks.
- Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods
Some jobs require long hours of standing up or sitting down. To avoid chances of developing varicose veins, make sure to constantly change positions for proper blood flow.
- Try to put your legs up
This is also one effective method for improvement of blood flow. When taking short breaks, elevate your legs, so that is at the same level of your heart. For instance, try lying down with your legs leaning on the side of the wall or that it is resting on stacks of pillows.
- Try not sitting with your legs crossed
Sitting cross-legged can also make it difficult for proper blood flow. Try to avoid sitting in this kind of position constantly.
There are several reports about the effectivity of using apple cider vinegar for treating varicose veins. It is because the anti-inflammatory properties in ACV can help improve blood flow as well as reduce inflammation. A lot of people found that mixing ACV with witch hazel and applying the solution to the problem areas for several weeks helps with treating varicose veins and improve appearance.
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