What You Can Eat To Prevent Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can be caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time, or from running or lifting weights. This condition can be hereditary, or triggered by your lifestyle. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent varicose veins and spider veins, including wearing compression socks, taking walks, and even incorporating certain foods into your diet.

Avocados contain a high concentration of glutathione, which helps to protect your heart, veins and arteries from oxidant damage. Glutathione is a tripeptide molecule that also ensures that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are functioning properly. If you have varicose veins, it is important to incorporate lots of foods with these vitamins into your diet. Vitamin C helps to increase circulation and keep your veins strong. Vitamin E helps to enhance the effects of Vitamin C.

Blueberries are great for your heart and also help to improve your memory, fight aging, help you digest, improve skin health and enhance weight loss. Blueberries also help to prevent varicose veins because they repair damaged proteins in the blood vessel walls and promote the overall health of the vascular system.  They also are a great source of fiber and Vitamin E. It is important to drink a lot of water throughout the day to avoid constipation, which puts pressure on your veins. Try to avoid any coffee, tea or alcohol, as to not dehydrate your body. Instead, try something rich in fiber, such as apples, berries, flaxseed, oats, carrots, peas, beans or barley.

Watercress, or the “cure of cures” according to Hippocrates, the father of medicine, benefits anyone with varicose veins. It is available year round and goes great in a salad. Ginger is also frequently used to treat varicose veins because it can dissolve fibrin in the blood vessels, which can be difficult for someone with varicose veins to break down. Fibrin causes your veins to get hard and lumpy, so it is important to dissolve it. Like ginger, rosemary also helps to improve circulation. Rosemary helps to strengthen the capillaries and protect tissues from damage. You can add rosemary to fish, fruits and meats, but it is also commonly found in skin care products that are used to treat varicose veins.

Those green vegetables your mom always force fed you when you were younger really pay off in the long run. Asparagus strengthens your veins and capillaries to keep them from rupturing and helps to prevent varicose veins. You can also eat beets to significantly reduce your homocysteine levels. This amino acid can damage your blood vessels, so make sure you eat your beets! The tops of the beets can be cooked and eaten just like spinach. Lastly, buckwheat is also great for vascular health because it is high in protein and helps with tissue repair. Buckwheat is one of the best natural sources for rutin, which may be a reason for varicose veins and spider veins developing if you do not consume enough of it.

By reducing the amount of calories you consume, you can help to reduce your risk of varicose veins, or improve the appearance of varicose veins. According to www.healwithfood.org, “a high energy intake is associated with an increased risk of varicose veins because it can contribute to the development of obesity and excess body weight.” If you are overweight and have varicose veins, you should eat five to six small meals throughout the day to boost and maintain your metabolism, while crushing the temptation to eat sweets.

Varicose veins can be prevented or treated simply by changing your diet. This condition affects up to 60% of people. Check out some of the recipes below to keep your body happy and healthy. You don’t have to give up all of the foods you love either. There are tons of different recipes to choose from, including zucchini noodles, tomato soup, chocolate cake and more. You can’t help but find a delicious meal that promotes strong, healthy veins.

Resources

Breakfast Recipes

Salad Recipes

Soup Recipes

Dinner Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Drink Recipes

Varicose Veins & Diet

Are You At Risk For Varicose Veins?

MANAGING LYMPHEDEMA

For Lymphedema Awareness Month, we are donating to the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN) to support the education and research of lymphedema and lymphatic disease. We are working with blogger Britta Vander Linden to make a difference. During the month of March, you can help us donate 1% of the total purchase price to LE&RN by using the coupon code “DONATE” at checkout.

Britta Vander Linden writes an inspiring blog about her experience with lymphedema. She was diagnosed with primary lymphedema when she was 23 years old. Since then, she has juggled a demanding job and keeping up with her blog, Lymphedema Diary.com, in her spare time. She was inspired to start a blog to connect with others struggling with the same illness. Her blog serves as a network for her and her readers to support and comfort one another. “I felt it was time to share my experiences with others in an effort to try to make their life easier. I hoped to make Lymphedema Diary the resource I wish I had when I was first diagnosed.” Each month, thousands of readers spanning across over 100 countries read her blog. Check out her inspiring story and get tips on how to manage lymphedema.

Before she started Lymphedema Diary, Britta turned to local support groups for help, but they didn’t regularly meet and were located at inconvenient places. A lot of them were made up on breast cancer survivors, so she had a hard time connecting with them because she didn’t feel like they were going through the same thing. Once she got involved on social media, she was able to connect with people all around the world to share tips on anything from finding good therapists to lymphedema management.

Her most recent addition to Lymphedema Diary is a new blog series called “A Leg Up: Compression Stocking Tips–What the Doctors Don’t Tell You.” Those with lymphedema use compression garments every day to manage their condition. Britta says, “No matter the difference in type or severity of lymphedema from one person to another, all of us are struggling to deal with compression garments.  I think that’s why the series has been so popular.”

Britta has been a customer with us for about a year because we have all “Four P’s,” or what she refers to as the four key things every stocking dealer should have: people, price, perks and policies. Juzo Soft Pantyhose in 30-40mmHg is her go-to compression garment because of how soft the fabric is, and because they don’t look like compression tights. According to her, the fabric is very susceptible to snags, however. Britta also suggests the Juzo Dynamic Pantyhose for exercising because they are much more durable. The downside is that they aren’t as fashion-friendly as the Juzo Soft pantyhose, and the thickness of the fabric makes it harder to get the stockings off.

Some other things that Britta has found that help her to manage her lymphedema are regular exercise, getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating a low-sodium diet and staying hydrated. “If I don’t keep up on any one of these habits, I feel it in my legs. For exercise, I prefer swimming, yoga and anything that gets me lifting the legs up and down. In the winter, I enjoy snowshoeing.” She developed a few techniques that help keep her legs stay happy and healthy during a long day at work.

Snowshoe

Check out Britta snowshoeing! This is one of her favorite ways to keep lymph fluid flowing in the winter.

When she was first diagnosed, she underwent six weeks of complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Although she is happy that she did this therapy on both of her legs, the process was exhausting. Between waking up early in the morning and the long commute before work, it wasn’t a good long-term solution. Overall, it was beneficial because she learned a lot about lymphedema care. One thing she doesn’t believe helped her was the acupuncture treatments she tried at about the same time.

There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who are suffering from lymphedema, but there is no cure. LE&RN has done an amazing job over the years in the advocacy, research and education of this condition. You can become a member for only $5 a month and help support the cause year-round. March is a very important month for spreading the word about lymphedema. Many doctors and patients do not know what symptoms to look for in the early stages of lymphedema. LE&RN is working to change this through education. Many people are not aware that the most common cause of lymphedema is cancer treatment. The removal of lymph nodes significantly increases your risk, but there are a couple of things that you can do after cancer treatment that can reduce your risk of lymphedema.

 

Click here to read more about what we’re doing for Lymphedema Awareness Month

Thanks for reading!

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Are You At Risk For Varicose Veins?

Did you know that running and lifting weights can cause varicose veins? Things that you think are helping your body may not be benefiting it in the same way you would like.  It’s not just hereditary, things you do on a day to day basis can increase your chances of developing varicose and spider veins. Even standing for long periods of time can put you at risk.

Generally, varicose veins is most common in older people and pregnant women, and usually occur in the legs and thighs. Your family history, age, lifestyle and hormones can all play a factor in developing varicose veins. Obesity can also increase your risk. Additionally, women are more likely to develop this condition than men. Although in most cases this is not a life-threatening condition, it can still cause pain and discomfort, or turn into something more serious.

About Varicose Veins

First things first-what exactly are varicose veins? This condition develops when your blood is not circulating properly. In your veins, there are one-way valves that pump blood to your heart. When these valves become too damaged or weak to stop blood from flowing in the wrong direction, the blood remains in the vein, causing the veins to swell and twist near the surface of the skin. Both spider veins and varicose veins look somewhat similar in appearance, but the main difference is that spider veins do not usually cause pain or discomfort. Varicose veins can also be caused by inflammation in your veins and from blood clots.

Symptoms include burning, itching, aching, cramping, tiredness and swelling. They can cause blood clots and skin ulcers as well. If it gets worse, the skin may become inflamed and change color. Veins can appear blue and look like they’re going to pop out of your skin. Varicose veins can evolve into a more serious condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This can cause symptoms to intensify. According to the ACP Vein Center, 30-50% of adults are at risk of developing CVI. If a blood clot forms and blockage occurs, this can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). With all of that being said, you’re ready to hear about some preventative solutions right??

Prevention

To help prevent developing varicose veins, you want to improve circulation in the body. To do so, you want to focus on your calves. They pump blood from your legs back up to your heart, so you want to strengthen these muscles as much as possible. One easy way to improve circulation is by wearing compression socks. The graduated compression helps to reduce swelling and muscle fatigue to keep your legs energized and ache-free all day. You can find thigh highs, pantyhose and knee highs that all fight varicose veins in a variety of colors, fabrics, styles and compression levels. Not sure what level of compression you should use? Check out our Buyers Guide for more information.

Generally, 15-20mmHg is a good compression level for both the occasional and everyday wearer. Compression garments do more than improve circulation. They are great to wear traveling, to work, or when you are sitting or standing for long periods of time. Compression socks can also help athletes enhance performance, speed up recovery time and help to prevent injuries such as shin splints. It’s amazing how good your legs feel when you wear compression pantyhose or socks all day.

Listed below are some compression stockings that help with varicose veins. There are knee high, thigh high and pantyhose styles available by many different brands. Prices can vary anywhere from $12 to $60 or more depending on what compression level you need, the type of fabric and style you prefer. Sockwell has great products if you’re looking for something with style. Try our house brand, Allegro, if you are looking for a more affordable solution. Juzo compression stockings are perfect if you want something that is really comfortable. Wear Sigvaris or Jobst if you appreciate luxurious fabrics and a stylish look. Mediven offers a variety of products in many different styles, fabrics and compression levels for a great price.

For minor varicose veins, try a compression garment that provides 15-20mmHg of gradient compression. This level is perfect for traveling and relieves minor swelling, spider veins and helps to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The Sockwell Men’s Circulator Stripe 15-20mmHg

Juzo Attractive Sheer Thigh Highs 15-20mmHg

Sigvaris Soft Opaque Pantyhose 15-20mmHg

Use a compression garment that provides firm 20-30mmHg of gradient compression for moderate varicose veins. Wear this compression level to treat mild to moderate swelling, DVT and post-schlerotherapy.

Juzo Basic Ribbed Sock 20-30mmHg

Jobst Opaque Thigh Highs 20-30mmHg

Allegro Sheer Support Pantyhose 20-30mmHg

Wear compression stockings that provide 30-40mmHg of gradient compression under a doctor’s super vision. This compression level is best to wear during healing after surgical or sclerotherapy procedures to reduce swelling and chronic venous insufficiency.

Jobst Relief Knee Highs 30-40mmHg

Medi Assure Thigh high 30-40mmHg

Allegro Surgical Pantyhose 30-40mmHg

When you sit or stand for long periods of time, wearing compression socks improve blood flow. When you are sitting down, it’s harder for your veins to get the blood back up to your heart. Compression socks squeeze the leg to reduce how much pressure and blood is in your veins and helps to regulate and maintain a healthy blood flow. By improving circulation, recovery time for tired, achy legs decreases. It is also important to keep your legs flat on the floor instead of crossing them when you sit. Making sure you get up and walk around every half hour to an hour when you are sitting for a long time can also help.

Walking is a great exercise to keep your legs happy and healthy. You want to find activities that stretch the muscle and also strengthen it without going overboard. This is why running and lifting weights can cause so much damage to your body. Lifting weights and doing activities like Pilates and Yoga can strain your abdomen which results in less blood being able to reach the heart. Light, moderate exercise can help prevent varicose veins from getting worse. It is important to keep your body health and in the best shape possible. Losing weight and wearing loose clothing can also help prevent varicose veins from worsening.

Treatment

There are a couple of procedures to treat varicose veins. One option is to undergo sclerotherapy, which is where a solution is injected into your veins, which prevents blood from filling them. The veins are eventually absorbed by the body and fade as time passes. However, this isn’t for everyone. Pregnant women cannot use this treatment. People who have a history of blood clots may not be eligible either. Other treatments include vein stripping, where an incision is made to remove the vein, and may result in scarring, or a similar operation called ambulatory phlebectomy that results in minimal scarring. It is really important to wear compression socks after this procedure to reduce the pain. Another option is laser treatment. In this procedure, a tiny fiber is put in the vein that sends out laser energy to kill the part of the vein that is diseased. Read more about treatments at the Society for Vascular Surgery website.

Resources on Varicose Veins

Why Be Concerned About Varicose Veins? – Johns Hopkins

Frequently Asked Questions – Venefit

What Are Varicose Veins? – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Truths and Myths about Varicose Veins – Venefit

Difference between spider and varicose veins – American Academy of Dermatology

What you should know about varicose veins – American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

Treatment Resources

Varicose vein treatment – Radiologyinfo.org

Hear what people have to say about sclerotherapy – Realself.com

Varicose veins and exercise – La Jolla Light

Treatment Resources – Baptist Health Systems

Forums and Blogs

Varicose veins forum – American Venous Forum

Should I stop lifting due to varicose veins? – Bodybuilding Forum

Varicose veins and dieting obstacles forum

Varicose Vein Forum – Patient.co.uk

Varicose Vein Blogs – Smart Living Network

Community Forum – MedHelp.org

Support Groups

Varicose veins support group – DailyStrength.org

Varicose veins information and support group – Varistop.com

Q&A, blog and support group – Drugs.com

Varicose veins discussions and support group – People Helping People

Blueberry-Watermelon Smoothie Recipe

Blueberry Watermelon SmoothieSummer in DC means it’s hot, hot, hot. But it also means we get an influx of fresh fruit, which I love to integrate into my diet. Another thing I love? Cooling off in the sweltering heat with a cold smoothie.

I recently read an article in Women’s Health about how effective watermelon is in reducing muscle soreness after a hard workout. According to the article, “Watermelon contains an amino acid called L-citrulline, which boosts blood flow—so drinking it may help your muscles get more oxygen, which means they can repair themselves faster.” Basically, eating watermelon or drinking watermelon juice before exercising means you’ll recover faster!

I personally love eating watermelon, but I can never finish an entire melon by eating it only as chunks. I started looking for other ways to consume this healthy fruit and came across this super easy and tasty smoothie recipe from AddAPinch.com. What’s great about this recipe is that it also includes blueberries – another wonder-fruit for our legs. Blueberries contain antioxidants that help strengthen and protect the walls of our capillaries and larger blood vessels, and they can be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of varicose veins, spider veins, swelling, edema and more. So, basically your legs and circulatory system are both gonna love this smoothie.

Blueberry Watermelon SmoothieBlueberry-Watermelon Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients
3 Cups Blueberries
3 Cups Watermelon, cubed
1.5 cups Ice
1 cup Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions
Add fruit to a blender and blend on high. Add ice and yogurt (if desired) and blend until smooth.

Recipe from AddAPinch.com

 

 

What to Wear after Sclerotherapy

Sheer Compression Pantyhose for SclerotherapyA friend of mine recently underwent sclerotherapy to remove some unsightly spider veins on her legs. When she scheduled the procedure, her doctor told her to purchase some compression hosiery to wear immediately after the procedure, but her doctor didn’t give her many details on what kind of support hosiery to buy. After doing a search on Google, she was immediately overwhelmed and confused by all the options. Luckily she has a friend in the compression business to help advise her! I thought I’d share my advice here in case anyone else is confused about what to wear after sclerotherapy.

During sclerotherapy treatment, your doctor will elevate your leg and inject the target veins with sclerosant. The procedure is fairly quick (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes) and you can walk right out of the doctor’s office after it’s done.  While there is no real “recovery” period, patients do need to take certain precautions to ensure they get the best results from this procedure. Mainly – patients must wear compression hosiery over the site of the injection. Compression socks or stockings make sure that blood does not flow back into these treated veins after treatment. Some doctors may tell you that you only need to wear compression stockings for 24 – 48 hours after the procedure, but we think it’s better to be cautious. You’re most likely paying for this procedure out of pocket – so do everything that you can to make sure you get the results you’ve paid for! We recommend wearing compression for AT LEAST a week after your procedure during the hours you’re on your feet. Ideally – you should wear the hosiery for two weeks. You don’t need to wear the hosiery to bed.

So, what kind of compression hosiery should you wear after sclerotherapy? Most doctors will recommend at least 20-30 mmHg of compression in thigh highs or pantyhose. Since you’ll be wearing these for a few weeks, you should purchase something that will be comfortable and attractive – something you won’t mind wearing for a few weeks. If you’re imagining the thick, unsightly compression hose that your grandmother wears – don’t fret! Compression stockings come in all sheerness levels and colors nowadays.  Most people won’t be able to tell the difference between your compression stockings and regular pantyhose.

So, before your procedure, take the time to measure your legs, read reviews of different brands and styles, and buy the hosiery you know you’ll be able to wear for the weeks following your procedure.  We have a large selection of pantyhose and thigh highs – and our customers are very honest in their reviews of the products, so it’s a great place to start!

By Brita @ BrightLife Direct
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