Keep the Blood Flowing!
When is the last time you showed off or took a good look at your legs? Celebrities like Heidi Klum have made a career out of showing off her legs. Even going as far as having them insured! One of the body’s amazing adaptations is the network of vessels carrying blood from the heart to the feet and back again. Arteries transport blood away from the heart to the feet, and our veins are equipped with valves and muscular pumps to move the blood against gravity back to the heart. As we age some will find that the veins of the lower leg have a harder time carrying the blood back up, causing blood can to pool in the lower leg. This will result in swelling (edema)and veins that pop out—varicosities. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to prevent varicose veins. The most important factor is genetics, so look to your parents to see what may be in store for your legs. Also, women are particularly at risk. If you have swollen legs, ankles and varicose veins, Dr. Vimal Reddy recommends:
- Elevating your legs above the level of your chest: This way, your veins can work with gravity instead of against it! So sit back, kick your feet and chill.
- Compression stockings: available at the First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic, over the counter or as a prescription. These will compress the feet and legs, preventing blood from pooling in them. To get the most out of your compression stockings, make sure you put them on the moment you get out of bed in the morning and wear them all day. This may mean you will need to start showering at night.
- In severe cases, more advanced treatment may be necessary. Consult with Dr. Reddy to determine the best strategy for dealing with your varicose veins.