Varicose veins are usually associated with twisted or bulging veins most often found on your legs, but many people are unaware of the fact that they are caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency – or vein disease. Over 40 million people in the United States have varicose veins, making it one of the most common medical conditions. While some people may not experience any symptoms, others may struggle with daily, chronic pain negatively impacting their daily life.
When a vein becomes a varicose vein
Your body’s circulatory system has a complex highway of veins and arteries.
The arteries deliver oxygenated blood from your heart to your limbs. Then the veins in your limbs push the de-oxygenated blood back to your heart. However, when the valves in your legs malfunction the blood is not able to flow properly to your heart. If the blood is unable to return to the heart, it will begin to pool in the veins which causes varicose veins.
Anyone is at risk of developing varicose veins, but there are some factors that increase the risk of varicose veins, including:
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Being overweight or obese
- Have a family history of vein disease
- Are over the age of 45
- Have a personal history of blood clots or vein disease
- Are or have been pregnant
Varicose veins and traveling
Whether you’re traveling to a beach or a new suburban city, it’s always important to keep the health of your veins in mind.
Blood clots can form when you travel, especially if you are sitting or standing still for an extended amount of time. Unfortunately, a condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can occur if a blood clot develops in one of the body’s deep veins. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. It is often referred to as a “silent condition” because some people may experience no symptoms at all, or they may feel leg pain, swelling, discoloration, cramping, or warmth in the affected area.
The longer you are immobile, the greater your risk of developing DVT. Most often, a clot will dissolve on its own; however, it can become life-threatening if the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). The good news is there are a few things you can do to stay safe and protect your health in order to reduce your risk of blood clots during your trip. Now, let’s go through some vein-friendly tips that it’s important to follow while you’re traveling.
Using these helpful tips, you can keep symptoms in check, lessen your risk for blood clots and reduce leg pain during your trip.
Managing Vein Health While Flying:
- Wear compression stockings: this can help improve blood flow during your flight.
- Move around: flex your feet and roll ankles to help engage your muscles that pump blood throughout your legs.
- Drink water: Staying hydrated keeps vein walls from narrowing and regulates blood pressure.
- Elevate: When you elevate your legs, it becomes easier for them to successfully pump blood, putting less pressure on your veins.
- Ask your doc: If you are predisposed to blood clots or recently had vein treatment, make sure your doctor is aware that you are planning a trip and how long your flight will be. They can recommend when it will be safe for you to fly.
- Stretch: Get up and stand or stretch every hour to promote healthy blood flow and reduce swelling.
- Avoid alcohol: Skip the sugary drinks and alcohol. They can cause blood vessels to constrict.
- Walk: If you’re sitting at the gate with some time on your hands, get up and walk around. Sitting for too long stalls circulation.
Managing Vein Health During a Road Trip
- Do some sightseeing: Break up the long drive with a little exercise. Plan to stop every few hours to go on a short hike, play Frisbee at a rest stop, or even take the stairs at a shopping center to encourage circulation, as well as reduce blood clot risks.
- Chang your position: Sitting in one position can cause blood clots to form. Change your posture, your sitting position, and even your seat altogether periodically throughout the drive.
- Stretch: Roll your ankles, flex your feet, wiggle your toes, and extend your legs to promote healthy circulation.
- Recline and elevate: Recline your passenger seat and elevate your legs on and off for 15 minutes every hour.
- Watch your diet: Be careful of indulging in fast food. It’s easy to want to rely on drive-throughs, but eating foods high in sodium, fat, and cholesterol can cause blood to coagulate.
- Keep cool: Hot weather can cause leg pain and other vein symptoms to worsen. Keep cool and remember to drink water. Wear light clothing, blast the A/C, or roll down the windows.
- Know your risks: If you are predisposed or have a family history of blood clots, talk to a vein specialist before your trip.
Treating Venous Insufficiency and Poor Circulation
Even though these helpful tips can help temporarily reduce your risk of blood clots and relieve some of your symptoms, the underlying cause will not be fixed. Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is an effective, minimally invasive solution to eliminate painful symptoms and reduce your risk of developing DVT. Learn more by exploring our website and giving us a call at 888.768.3467.