Our circulatory system is made up of a complex web of arteries and veins. Our arteries carry oxygen rich blood to the cells of our bodies, while the veins are designed to pump oxygen poor blood back to the heart. This is accomplished through a series of one-way valves that do not allow blood to flow backwards into the vein.
When someone suffers from varicose veins, the one-way valves of their veins do not close adequately, resulting in the inefficient transport of blood back to the heart. This causes the blood to flow backward within the vein, creating pressure and causing the vein to become swollen and distended.
While rather mild, this health condition affects about 15% of all adults worldwide. Most people recognize varicose veins because of their knotted, twisted, swollen and often bluish appearence. In addition to any cosmetic concerns they may pose. These veins can cause discomfort in the form of dull nagging aches and pains, night cramps, ankle swelling, feelings of burning or leg fatigue after prolonged standing.
There are a number of factors that play a part in the development of varicose veins including heredity, gender, lifestyle, occupation and age. They are also known to form during pregnancy due to the dilating effect progesterone has on the veins. As they are associated with lack of circulation, the formation of varicose veins is more common in people who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time, habitually sit with their legs crossed and those who lack regular exercise.
Recommendations For Wellness
- Avoid standing for prolonged periods of time. If this is unavoidable, move your legs often. Stretching and flexing your ankle will work to pump the blood out of your legs and get it circulating again.
- If you find yourself sitting for extended periods of time, get up and move around every 35 to 45 minutes.
- Take regular walks to help exercise the muscles of the legs and increase blood flow.
- Avoid clothing that may restrict blood flow.
- Keep your weight down. This can help to reduce pressure on your legs.
- To help prevent leg and ankle swelling, reduce your salt intake.
- Elevate your legs whenever possible especially when sitting.
- Topically, witch hazel can be applied to the legs to ease discomfort.
- Butcher's broom (Helps dissolves fat in arteries. Wide range of circulatory ailments, especially involving veins) has historically been used when dealing with circulatory ailments such as varicose veins.
- Supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba (For memory and mental clarity, a Timed Released Ginkgo Biloba Extract), Gotu Kola (Tonic for the nervous system, "brain food" for vitality and many mental needs. Protects brain functioning. Builds circulation in the brain & lower limbs) or Capsicum (Hot pepper that cools pain. Stimulant effects speed the circulation aids the absorption of other herbs) have been shown to improve circulation.
- Try the herbal combination Vari-Gone (provides support to varicose veins) , which is made up of six nutrients, including horse chestnut, butcher's broom and vitamin C, that work together to fortify and nourish the overall health of veins.
- Topically you can try Vari-Gone Cream which contains Horse Chestnut, Butcher's Broom, Aloe Vera and Yellow Sweet Clover. Combined they can help to improve the appearance of varicose veins while hydrating the skin.
- Coenzyme Q10 (Boosts energy efficiency of cell functions. Heart functioning) also improved tissue oxygenation and increases circulation.
- Vitamin C (For collagen formation & tissue repair; antioxidant; needed for metabolism of folic acid and iron; strengthens blood vessels; helps utilization of carbohydrates & synthesis of fats and proteins) with bioflavonoids can help this condition by reducing blood clotting tendencies, promoting healing and helping to strengthen the blood vessels.
- White oak bark (Astringent that shrinks swollen tissues & helps normalize bleeding. Gums, throats, & digestive tract tissues) can be used to help reduce inflammation of the veins as well as to tighten tissues and strengthen blood vessels.
- Essential fatty acids such as Flax Seed Oil (Contains high concentrations of Omega-6 fatty acids and the Omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid) or omega 3 can help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with varicose veins. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of four basic fats that the body derives from foods. Some of the other fats,especially too much saturated fat,can be harmful to the body. But Omega-3s are good for the body and especially good for the heart.
NOTE: Always obtain medical advice from a qualified physician.
By Dr Rita Louise
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