My mom is over 50 and has varicose veins in her legs. Are there any exercises that I could have her do or supplements to take to reduce these veins?
Although we do not have a specific answer, we can offer some help.
Varicose veins are protruding, abnormally enlarged, often bluish and lumpy looking distended superficial veins particularly prevalent in the lower legs. Extensive back pressure in the veins causes the veins to enlarge and stretch to the point that the valves become incompetent. The weight of the blood further distends the veins and more valves become dysfunctional, perpetuating the condition.
Because lack of circulation contributes to the formation of varicose veins, varicose veins are more common in people who:
- Sit and stand in one position for prolonged periods of time
- Often sit with their legs crossed
- Lack regular movement
- Are overweight
- Are pregnant
- Use improper lifting techniques
- Suffer from constipation, phlebitis, heart failure and liver disease
- Are deficient in vitamin C, which can weaken the collagen structures in the vein walls.
In most cases, varicose veins do not cause a serious problem and can be managed. However, if management is not helping, it is important to seek medical help. In some cases, varicose veins can cause bleeding under the skin, an eczema-like condition near the effected veins or ulcerated spots near the ankles.
- Avoid the sedentary postural positions that have the tendency to exacerbate the condition.
- Wear loose clothing that does not restrict blood flow.
- Take a rest and elevate legs when prolonged standing or walking is part of the day.
- Swimming exercises may be more suitable over walking. Biking and swimming will promote blood flow with the impact of walking and running.
- Nutritionally, eat a diet that is low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Include plenty of fiber to prevent constipation.
Assess your mom’s lifestyle and use the above information to make any necessary changes. For immediate relief, simulate walking motion in a pool or tub of cold water. This will help to improve circulation and ease pain.