Varicose veins could be a real problem in summer, especially when you want to put on swimsuits or summer shorts and don’t want to show those hideous veins. Treatment is the best option, but that does not mean you have to have surgery. Read Dr. Michael Murray’s article on Care2.com and find out how varicose veins can be treated through natural means.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when the blood clots in a vein, predominantly in the leg. The condition is potentially life threatening and it can affect anyone of any gender, race, age, or physical condition. It is caused by prolonged inactivity. Sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time is one the main causes of DVT, which is why it is important for frequent long distance travellers, or people who work on computers for many hours, to take the necessary precautions to prevent the condition from occurring.
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
DVT commonly occurs in the deep vein system of the lower leg, between the ankle and upper calf. A blood clot (thrombosis) in the deep vein system is a very serious condition, which can be fatal because it is very difficult to diagnose the condition through external examination. A clot will form quickly and detach itself from the vein wall in a matter of hours. The clot will travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the heart or lungs before it is possible to get help from a physician. Death is swift and sudden.
The problem with DVT is that the affected individual may not realize their condition before it is too late. Symptoms, if they occur, include muscle tension in the lower leg, a cramp in the calf with some swelling or a dull ache. The condition tends to occur very rapidly, giving little time for these symptoms to appear.
Clots caused by DVT can cause extensive tissue damage, skin lesions, and treatment may require amputation of the affected limb.
As morbid as the condition may sound, it can be easily prevented. It is important for travellers and people in general to be aware of the condition and how it can be prevented.
Using Graduated Compression Socks and Stockings
Graduated compression stockings and socks are the most common form of preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis among other conditions. The socks are designed to create maximum compression at the ankle, with a gradual reduction in pressure up the length of the sock. This design forces the veins in the upper body to to supply more blood into the legs and thereby correcting poor blood flow.
These socks and stockings are highly recommended by physicians for people who travel frequently or people who tend to sit in one position for an extended period of time. They are available in styles for both men and women, and they look just like ordinary socks.
Alternative Methods of Prevention
There are other ways of preventing the condition from occurring if you find wearing special socks and stockings too cumbersome. Standing up and taking a short walk after every hour of sitting is one of the simplest ways of preventing DVT. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an airplane or bus, just stand up and stretch your legs for a few minutes to allow blood to flow freely to your legs. This is a method that is highly recommended for people who sit too long for work purposes. Take a break once every hour, stretch your legs and unwind. This technique could potentially save your life.
Spring comes with the promise of getting back on the fitness track after a long period of winter stuffing. An article by Sarah Jordon on handbag.com talks about what to eat and what to do to stay fresh and energetic this summer. Read on for some interesting lifestyle options.
Before improving your blood circulation it is important to know about the Human Circulatory System and its impact on the human body. The Human Circulatory System is a combination of the cardiovascular system and lymphatic system. The cardiovascular system functions to distribute blood to the body and the lymphatic system returns surplus, recycled plasma to the blood.
The circulatory system is not only responsible for supplying blood but is also responsible for the removal of carbon dioxide and several other wastes from the body along with providing fresh oxygen. Main components of this system are the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins. The heart pumps and forces the blood to start its journey.
Causes of poor blood circulation
There are many causes of poor blood circulation: our unhealthy lifestyles, over consumption of junk food, and remaining in a state of inactivity for long periods of time. All these things have an effect on our blood circulation. However, the most common causes of poor circulation are as follow:
- Drinking Alcohol and smoking
- Inadequate sleep
- Chronic Diseases
- Poor Diet
- Long periods of sitting and standing
- Wrong sitting and standing postures
- Lack of exercise
- Unnecessary Stress
- Blood vessels
Symptoms of Poor Circulation
There are several typical symptoms and signs of poor blood circulation. Most of them usually occur in our legs, hands, arms, and feet. Some common signs are:
1. Pain in legs and arms
2. Leg cramps during night
3. Swelling and soreness in some body parts
4. Chest pain
5. Weakness or laziness
7. Change of skin color
8. Difficulty in climbing stairs
Effects of Poor blood circulation
Poor circulation can be dangerous for your health. Circulating the blood throughout the body is very important. Poor circulation not only affects the heart but the liver, brain, kidneys, and vital reproductive body parts. If we do not take care of our blood circulation and the blood is not flowing properly in our body then it causes many problems and diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, swelling in the legs and arms, poor memory, headaches, heart problems, heart attack, hypertension, numbness, slow healing of wounds, cardiovascular diseases, paralysis, and many more.
How to improve blood circulation:
There are many simple and effective ways to improve your blood circulation. Taking care of a few simple things can help you improve your blood flow immensely and it is not that difficult at all. You can quit the habits of smoking and alcohol consumption, start some physical exercise, eat healthy food etc. These simple changes do not require any surgical intervention or intake of medicine, hence are strongly advised. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
Following are a few effective ways of improving blood circulation:
One of the major causes of poor circulation is our modern lifestyle. Many people have office jobs in which they have to sit for six to seven hours daily. But it is very important to be active and do some exercise. To make yourself healthy you should walk for at least 30 to 40 minutes. There are some simple exercises such as yoga, swimming, stretching, biking, running, and aerobics that help to improve the blood flow.
The food we eat has a deep effect on our health. Eating junk food prevents the blood from circulating properly. A high fiber diet is very good for circulation and should include foods such as corn, wheat, rice, oats, and nuts. You should include garlic in your routine diet as it helps prevent the formation of plaque. Fresh fruits and vegetables also play a good role in improving blood circulation like oranges, watermelon, lemon, onion, and pumpkin seeds.
Make a habit of drinking plenty of water daily. Use foods that are high in vitamin B such as chili peppers, potatoes, and beans.
3. Making Small Lifestyle Changes
A healthy lifestyle includes getting an adequate amount of sleep, too. Try to take a hot bath daily and do some heat treatments. It boosts the blood flow. If some areas of the body are tense or tight, try massaging the area. Swelling and tension in the muscles block the path of oxygen, so it’ s important to relieve this tension. Use the stairs instead of an elevator before and after work. If you are going to some nearby store try walking instead of driving. Anger management is also very vital for a healthy blood circulation. If you find symptoms of poor circulation, consult a doctor immediately .
4. Relax Deeper and More Often
Relaxation is very important for your body. You should make some time for it every day. Do not neglect it as it settles your body. Long and intense stress is dreadful for blood circulation. Manage your time so that you get some to spend by yourself daily. Do things that you enjoy most, such as listening to some relaxing music or reading a good novel. Laughter is a great way to relax too. Indulge in things that make you smile, or laugh.
5. Medical treatments
Apart from the above natural therapies there are a number of medical treatments through which blood circulation can be improved.Many medicines are available for this purpose but it is necessary to use medicine under a doctor’s supervision.
Blood thinners remove clots and improve circulation
Vitamin supplements are also used in restoring and boosting blood circulation. Some of these are Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B Complex, and flavonoids.
Physiotherapy also helps in improving circulation related problems.
In more serious conditions, surgeries are conducted. They remove the blood clots and blood plaque during the surgeries.
Why Compression Stockings May Be Needed
There are several reasons why one may need to wear compression socks or stockings. Here are the most common.
1. Comfort from Edema
Some patients will develop edema or swelling in the legs, which will require the use of compression stockings. Compression stockings will alleviate pain that stems from the swollen areas of the leg, as well as boost circulation in the area to facilitate fast healing. Diabetic patients particularly suffer from edema in the legs.
Experts recommend compression of 15 to 20 mmHg for patients suffering from edema, while those without swelling can make do with 10 to 15 mmHg compression stockings. This measurement should be recorded and taken by a physician.
2. Lack of Circulation
Certain conditions prevent blood from properly flowing into the legs, such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), varicose veins, and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Wearing compression stockings according to the recommended pressure and size by the doctor will help reduce pain, as well as deliver blood properly to the affected areas. Compression stockings should be felt for comfort. They should feel snug around the affected areas, although not too snug, as they may impede circulation.
3. Relief from Pain
Many individuals also wear compression stockings to minimize pain that comes from conditions like weak or tired legs, fatigue from long distance running, muscle spasms, and sprains. Athletes particularly wear the materials to increase their endurance, as well as provide additional support to areas like the calves and thighs.
Pain will be eliminated quickly and sores can also be prevented or relieved immediately. There are compression stockings that support the ankles, knees, calves, shins, hamstrings, and thighs. The lengths will differ depending on the affected areas.
The Different Lengths of Compression Stockings
Doctors and physical therapists will prescribe different kinds of compression stockings based on their assessment of the condition and the tolerance of patients.
Thigh-length stockings are ideal for many athletes. Those suffering from joint and bone problems may be required to wear knee-length stockings. Individuals should also be informed about the proper ways to wear the material. Otherwise, they might feel discomfort and tightness in the area.
Thigh-length stockings are fitted improperly more often than knee-length stockings because of its larger coverage. When looking for the right size, users are advised to take measurements on various parts of their legs, such as the ankle, the calf width, the calf length, the thigh width, and the thigh length.
Also report any unusual signs and symptoms that might develop after wearing the compression stockings for a few hours. Some of the notable effects include the following:
- numbness and tingling sensations in the lower extremities,
- lack of blood circulation,
- profuse sweating,
- pain / muscle pain,
- muscle stiffness,
- difficulty walking, running or jumping,
- lack of sensation, and
- difficulty moving
Let your physician know about all these to have the compression stockings readjusted according to your specifications and comfort needs. The type of material may also matter when looking for the right fit. Comfort should be one of your priorities, especially when you’re wearing the material for several months. It’s best to change the stockings a few times each week to prevent sores and skin irritation.
For the Outdoorsy Folk
The great thing about exercise is that you can choose which one suits you best. This means that you can go with one that interests you most. For leg muscles, fun ways to improve strength include biking, cycling (stationary or not), dancing, hiking or trekking, mountain (or wall) climbing, swimming, running or jogging, marathons and triathlons, or simply using gym equipment. If you love the outdoors and adventure, you already know which ones from that list you’re going to pick. These help get the mind off of focusing on the fact that you are working out – instead, you can focus on the view of the outdoors, play some music while you’re at it, or even have these as great (and healthy!) bonding moments with your friends. As a bonus, these also make for great cardio sessions, which also improves heart health, burn calories and lose weight, among many other benefits.
Focused Leg Exercises
Now, if you are really committed into having a strict workout session that’ll bring out the best in your legs, you’ll be better off with leg exercises that focus on the specific muscles and muscle groups. Here are some of the best ones you can do:
- Squats – The first thing that you need to know is that squats are the golden standard in the leg exercise world. These are the classic routines that every person with healthy and fit legs (and buns) perform because the muscles that they hit include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and the butt. There are many spin-offs and alternative touches and depths to squats today.
○ Barbell Squats – To perform this, begin with a light weight (you can add weights gradually) and do back squats, building up eventually. If you can, go as far as squatting your butt to the ankles for a better burn.
○ Dumbbell Squats – This is a variation if you aren’t comfortable with using barbells just yet. You can begin with these before using barbells until you feel that you are strong enough for them.
○ Barbell Hack Squats – If you aren’t able to tolerate upper body weights, this variation is perfect for you. Although not very popular, it works well for leg muscles. A combination of a squat and a deadlift essentially, you perform this by placing a barbell on the floor, behind the heels. Squat down – back straight – and grab the barbell handles. Stand up, lifting the barbell from behind. It may sound complicated at first, but this is very easy as you go on.
- Dumbbell Lunges – Hold dumbbells, one on each hand, and step one leg forward, alternatively. Do not get the knee too far (beyond the toe point), especially for beginners.
- Deadlifts – Another classic routine, you can perform deadlifts by lifting a barbell off the floor while keeping your knees bent and your back straight. Although relatively simple, this works a compound of muscles – both lower and upper leg muscles, the butt, neck and back muscles, arm and forearm muscles, and even the abdominals.
- Leg Press – This requires the use of a press machine, commonly seen in the gym and fitness centers. If you have one at home, you do these reps there, too. Ask for a trainer’s instruction when using this for the first time. Keep your lower back tightly pressed against the machine’s seat/support. You don’t need to use too heavy a weight for this one. Ideally, perform around 12 reps at a time.
- Bridge – On the floor facing up, forearms flat on the floor, bend your back and push yourself up from the floor to the point where your butt and legs are both lifted. Hold this for 30 seconds, then repeat. These reps are great for strength training.
There are a lot of other leg exercises out there. Some require the use of gym equipment (leg raises, leg curls, etc.) and some don’t (calf raises, runner’s lunges, etc.) – the important thing is to perform them properly to avoid injury and pain. Remember that the saying “no pain, no gain” doesn’t necessarily have to be followed strictly. Discomfort is good – it is a sign that the exercises are working. Pain, on the other hand, may be an indicator of injured muscles or bones.
Whichever of these exercises you choose to perform, remember to keep all other aspects of leg and foot health balanced, too. Keep a healthy and balanced diet, rest adequately, avoid prolonged sitting and standing, and wear comfortable footwear as much as possible.
This cycle we read about the people who are at risk for varicose veins, the complications of varicose veins such as venous leg ulcers, and also learned about a wonderful possible treatment, currently undergoing research trials, for the leg ulcers caused by venous insufficiency conditions.
- If your legs have been aching more than usual, do get yourself checked for varicose veins. Wendy Leonard reveals that you don’t have to be a woman in her 40s to be diagnosed with varicose veins. They can affect anyone at any age.
- Chronic venous leg ulcers take a long time to heal because of the limited treatment available. The individuals who develop the ulcers need to wear compression stockings for the rest of their life to prevent recurrence of the condition. Good news is, this may change for the better, forever! Wftv.com tells more!
- Dr. Sarah Curran emphasizes on the importance of caring for your feet. There are many painful acute and chronic foot conditions that can be prevented with just a little effort on your part.
- An article on WebMD shares the findings of a study about the factors that increase the risk for blood clots during or after pregnancy.
- Christine Bryant explains how shoes affect your body long-term while you’re out and about, wearing them. They can harm as well as heal – it all depends on the kind you wear.
- What is your idea of the perfect pair of shoes? We discuss the characteristics of the shoes right for your feet and their health in “Orthopedic Shoes: What They Are and Why You Should Wear Them.”
Dream Shoes. What sort of shoes do you picture when you’re thinking about “the perfect shoes?” If by any chance you’re imagining flashy, flamboyant and fashionable – please think again. Your feet are not a pair of useless extensions sprouting from your limbs. They have a huge role in your ability to move, which is probably the most useful ability anyone can have. And so they deserve more consideration when you’re deciding what an ideal pair of shoes would be like.
Most shoes that come under the fashionable category are far from comfortable. They are made without any regard for foot shape and arch support. This, in the long run, contributes to chronic limb problems such as knee osteoarthritis and varicose veins.
This brings us back to the question of what the ideal shoes should be like. Any pair of shoes that your feet are truly comfortable in, is the answer. Christine Bryant says that orthopedic shoes are rapidly gaining popularity among people who care for their feet, because even though they don’t really come in the latest trendy designs, they are made to fit your shoes in a way that helps relieve foot conditions, rather than cause them. The features include a wide toe box, good arch support, modest heels and breathable fabric that helps decrease moisture.
The best thing you can do for your feet and for yourself is to wear shoes that are the right size and shape for your feet.
It’s a common misconception that venous insufficiency and varicose veins happen only to women in their 30s or 40s and women who’ve had multiple pregnancies. The truth is that they can and do occur in people belonging to any gender or age group, and even in people who are athletes and otherwise in good shape. Wendy Leonard advises that if you are experiencing achy legs consistently, get yourself checked for varicose veins.
Once you develop venous leg ulcers, they can get pretty nasty if they’re not treated properly and in time. In any case, they take a long time to heal. Until now, they have been treated with compression stockings in addition to good wound care, once diagnosed. But researchers are now working on trials that involve treating these ulcers with a topical spray that is intended to induce tissue regeneration on a cellular level, in the suffering individuals. Read more about this new technology in this article published on WFTv.com.