Proper function of the vein valves in your leg is essential to ensuring blood doesn’t pool in your calves, ankles, and feet. Venous insufficiency is a condition when these valves aren’t working as they should. Individuals will notice symptoms like changes in their skin, varicose veins, or swelling. While there are effective treatments that can help to remedy venous insufficiency, vein doctors in Raleigh, NC recommend taking steps to prevent it in the first place. Read the guide our team at Champion Heart and Vascular Center put together that has five things you can do for prevention.
Elevate your legs
Gravity affects your blood flow just as it does anything else in the world. Most of us have been in a situation where our head was upside down for long enough that we felt the blood rushing to our head. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen naturally to our legs and feet, as there are specific valves in our veins that prevent blood from flowing with the force of gravity.
As these valves start to wear out, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep blood flowing “uphill” in our legs. You can help blood flow by elevating your legs. Putting up your legs makes it easier for any blood that’s accumulated in your legs to flow downhill and get into other parts of your body where it doesn’t have to pump so hard to get back to the heart and lungs.
Minimize salt intake
Salt is an important part of our diet to help our bodies absorb water. Water follows sodium (one of the chemicals in table salt), so it helps to hydrate our cells. However, too much salt will essentially work as a diuretic and make you filter too much water from your bloodstream in your kidneys. While removing some water from your blood can be helpful in reducing blood pressure, flushing too much will thicken the blood and make it more difficult for your heart to pump it through your system. Minimizing your salt intake makes it easier for your body to balance water in your body.
One way that your body can combat blood pooling in your calves is by being active. Consider how your heart pumps blood through your body. It’s a large muscle that contracts in unison to push blood from your heart to every area of your body. Your calves can help your heart by doing the same thing. Think of your calves like two small hearts at the bottom of your legs because when those muscles contract, they’ll push blood upward out of your legs. Staying active is a great way to help prevent venous insufficiency because your leg muscles will take some of the work of the valves in your veins and your heart as well.
Wear compression stockings
If you can’t stay active because of your job, compression stockings or socks are a great solution. Rather than simply wearing tall socks or tight leggings, compression stockings are engineered with a flexible fabric that provides pressure in strategic locations of the leg and foot to ensure blood keeps moving. Compression stockings or socks are ideal for individuals who work desk jobs or stand in one place for consecutive hours.
Moisturize your skin
Your legs are one of the most susceptible areas to venous damage when your blood pressure is too high. As we talked about before, gravity will pull blood to your legs, which puts increased pressure on the veins in the area. Eventually, blood can leak out of these veins and into your skin. You’ll start to notice discoloration of the area where you’re having this problem, which can eventually lead to drying and cracking. Moisturizing your skin isn’t going to solve the problem as a whole, but it can certainly help to improve the health of your legs by keeping the skin healthy and preventing further complications.
Schedule an appointment for more
You can learn more about how to prevent venous insufficiency by getting in touch with a vein doctor in Raleigh, NC. Speak with our team at Champion Heart and Vascular Center by calling your nearby office. We can also answer any questions you might have via our online contact form.