How Dietary and Sleep Habits Affect Your Veins

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A women in bed to the right, in the middle person holding basket of produce, and to the left "How dietary and sleep habits affect your veins."

The venous system of our body plays a crucial role in successful, unobstructed blood circulation. Veins carry blood from our various body parts to our heart and back again. As we age, issues develop in our circulatory systems, resulting in different health complications. One in every three Americans between the ages of 45 to 50, experience vein problems.1 The early symptoms may not seem serious, but vein disease left untreated can grow to become a major, health complication. Early detection and treatment is advisable. Leg pain and swelling can be detrimental, especially when it progresses, preventing you from living a healthy, active lifestyle. Below are a few, serious vein conditions that can arise:

  • Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT): In this condition, blood clots are formed in large veins. This usually occurs in the lower portion of our legs.
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE): It’s a condition when blood clots are breaking off and traveling to the lungs.
  • Chronic Venous Disease (CVD): In this condition, you start experiencing something abnormal with the movements of the lower part of your body, usually due to some venous aberration. CVD generally includes: spider veins/varicose veins, leg pain/leg swelling, chronic venous insufficiency, leg skin changes, leg ulcers, phlebitis, and vascular malformations.
  • Leg Ulcers: Leg ulcers or chronic leg ulcers are a skin defect, which usually occurs below the knee level and tends to persist for weeks. When leg ulcers become chronic, that seems to have no-healing tendency. Ulceration of the lower portion of the legs can result in extreme pain and social distress. Chances are high for infections to grow in the affected area if your venous leg ulcers are left untreated. In an extreme case, untreated venous leg ulcers can cause loss of a leg or a large slice of the skin. The patient may then need skin grafts. If we talk about the risks of not treating the initial symptoms of leg ulcers, they are great.
  • May-Thurner Syndrome: May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), also known as Iliac Vein Compression Syndrome, is an asymmetrical swelling of the legs – the left leg swells but the right leg does not. MTS is a rare condition, but one that the vascular surgeons at USA Vein Clinics are experienced in treating. They treat the underlying condition causing the syndrome, thereby relieving the leg swelling and pain. May-Thurner Syndrome occurs because the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery. (The iliac veins and arteries lie deep in the pelvis). This compression of the left iliac vein impedes venous drainage of the left leg leading to intractable swelling.

Did you know chronic sleep deprivation and poor sleeping patterns can make vein disease worse?
Although researchers and physicians are still not sure about the exact cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS), is often attributed to poor sleeping habits or chronic sleep deprivation. Some specialists say the reason could also be genetic since 50% of RLS patients have immediate relatives with RLS, which made the researchers jump to such a conclusion.2 Other factors contributing to RLS include diabetes and iron deficiency. Apart from these, there are a few medications that interfere with healthy sleep patterns. These often include: anti-nausea medicines, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
One of the most probable and common causes could be poor sleeping habits. The sedentary lifestyle has been found culprit amongst many people. Exercise, even a small amount every day, can help promote deeper sleep. If you regularly fall asleep with the television, lights, or music on, it can interrupt your sleep and lead to worsening RLS symptoms.
RLS -> Sleep deprivation -> Vein disease
There is an evident relationship between restless legs syndrome (RLS), sleep deprivation, and vein disease. Primary symptoms of varicose veins may include discomfort, heaviness in the legs, swelling, skin discoloration, cramping, and pain after standing for an extended period of time. Chronic pain in the legs can keep you up all night causing poor sleep quality, which can lead to other health conditions. If you’re not getting a proper amount of sleep, it can put your body and other organs through stress.  Vein conditions typically become severe when the pain is overlooked until it becomes insufferable.
Having vein disease doesn’t always mean you will have visible spider veins, varicose vein or leg swelling. When RLS leads you to experience sleepless nights, symptoms could be heaviness, swelling, aching, stinging, fatigue, burning and throbbing.
Vein treatment usually starts with relieving your symptoms, making RLS more controllable. In case you have mild symptoms, you will want to change your diet and sleeping patterns at first. Avoiding alcohol consumption, along with adopting a balanced diet and sleeping patterns, will help improve your symptoms.
How changing your food intake can help temporarily manage vein symptoms
Venous insufficiency is prominent amongst most Americans aged between 45-50. Nearly 40 million individuals have a vein condition, and about 150,000 new patients are diagnosed each year.4 Pain management of venous symptoms should be a balance between proper sleeping, healthy food intake, regular exercise, and vein treatment. Healthy circulation is crucial for our health, and that begins with knowing which foods help in improving overall blood flow.

  • Bioflavonoids: They are considered potent anti-inflammatory, reduce swelling in the varicose veins and build up cartilage within the vein walls.3
  • Fruits: Fruits, other than those having anti-inflammatories and antioxidant properties but containing tannic help in guarding the blood vessels against seepage.
  • Onions: They make a powerhouse by themselves. Onions contain potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and fiber and strengthen our circulation effectively.
  • Copper: Food having rich amounts of copper will help in building your skeletal system, promote blood flow and stabilize the immune system.
  • Water: Consumption of more amount of water ensures that the blood volume in your body remains constant, preventing a variety of disruptions.

To conclude
Possible symptoms of RLS and vein disease should never be ignored. Pain management starts with taking care of your body. Exercising, good sleeping habits and healthy eating can help reduce painful symptoms. In order to completely treat vein disease, treatments like endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) can get to the root of the problem. Many people are unaware that leg cramping and restless legs at night is a symptom of venous insufficiency. When you’re well-rested and have less pain, you can exponentially reduce your stress levels. If you’re interested in alleviating vein symptoms, visit USA Vein Clinics any time for an initial consultation and personalized treatment plan. As the largest network of vein clinics, we have over 70 locations across the country, from coast-to-coast. Our clinics are well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the treatment of varicose veins and vascular problems.  Our experienced, vascular specialists have treated hundreds of patients suffering from vein disease. For more information, contact us at  (888) 768-3467 or visit our website www.usaveinclinics.com.
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Footnotes:

  1. https://www.veinforum.org/patients/what-is-vein-disease/
  2. https://www.veinspecialists.com/blog/restless-leg-syndrome-caused-venous-disease/ (middle-aged translated into 45-50 {figures})
  3. https://varicoseveins.org/blog/2015/09/varicose-veins-boost-your-diet-with-flavonoids/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430975/

American Venous Forum. (2018). What is Vein Disease? Retrieved October 19, 2018, from https://www.veinforum.org/patients/what-is-vein-disease/
Patel, S. K., & Surowiec, S. M. (2018, October 12). Venous Insufficiency. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430975/
VaricoseVeins.org. (2015, August 20). Varicose Veins: Boost Your Diet with Bioflavonoids! Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://varicoseveins.org/blog/2015/09/varicose-veins-boost-your-diet-with-flavonoids/
Vein Specialists of the South LLC. (2017, September 10). Is Restless Leg Syndrome Caused by Venous Disease? Retrieved October 20, 2018, from https://www.veinspecialists.com/blog/restless-leg-syndrome-caused-venous-disease/

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