Our next chapter in these series intended to inform about treatments for vein insufficiency, varicose veins and similar situations (spider veins), this week we are going to discuss about a group of measures that we’ll name postural hygiene measures.
There are quite a number of changes in lifestyle that are able to improve vein insufficiency, and most of them are widely known – unfortunately also many false beliefs are very widespread, like the myth of the seawater-. Using these measures is also a good method to prevent the development or the worsening of the varicose veins. Some of the measures that might be useful are:
- Keep appropriate body weight: overweight and obesity worsen venous insufficiency, because the increase in the abdominal fat hinders the venous return flow from the legs to the heart.
- Avoid too tight clothing that compresses the highest areas of the limb or abdomen, because they also cause difficulties in the venous return flow.
- Avoid wearing high heels: by using high heels, mobility of the ankle joint when walking is greatly diminished; as a consequence of it, mobility of the calf muscles is also quite reduced. We know that a very important job of the calf muscles is “to milk” the veins inside of them; this way they help the venous blood flow to move upwards. Thus, this decreased function of the calf muscles causes slowdown of the returning blood flow. As a matter of fact, the use of high heels acts the same as if we immobilize the ankle with a cast on it.
- Avoid standing steady and sitting for prolonged periods of time, because this also slows down the blood flow: you should try to interrupt them by occasionally walking around for a few minutes.
- It can be useful to rest the legs for a while by elevating them, but it is not necessary to sleep every night with legs up: just in horizontal position should be enough for a proper venous flow.
- It’s useful to avoid heat and everything that causes it (sauna, direct sunlight on the legs in summer, heaters in winter…). Heat causes vasodilation (increase in the veins width) and hence worsens venous insufficiency; on the other hand, cold causes vasoconstriction (reduction of their diameter) and improves it, so cold water, cold-effect creams, etc, may be useful.
- Playing sports: almost all sports are suitable to improve venous insufficiency; only those that greatly increase abdominal pressure (such as weight lifting, for example) are not recommended.
Should you be interested in getting to know this disease better, and its causes, consequences, how to treat them, and, even better, what can we do to prevent them, you can find it all well explained in the ebook VARICOSE VEINS: Truth & myths.