If you have varicose veins, or other vein health issues, your doctor might have prescribed a course of treatments to relieve your symptoms — multiple sessions to complete your treatment. If you take care of your veins between sessions, you can help maintain your vein health and even improve your condition.
Ways to maintain and improve vein health
The veins are delicate structures that rely on a variety of factors to maintain their health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and supplements, and special garments can all help you maintain vein health between sessions.
Your veins rely on skeletal muscle contractions to circulate blood back to your heart. If you spend a lot of time sitting, blood can pool in your lower extremities, which can put pressure on your veins and cause more damage. Get up and move around every 30 minutes or so to restore circulation to your legs. You should also exercise regularly.
Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that increases your heart rate for a prolonged period of time. Regular cardiovascular exercise also strengthens your entire cardiovascular system, including your heart and lungs, which is beneficial to the veins.
All it takes is as little as 30 minutes a day of mild cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, dancing, or cycling. You can even break your exercise sessions into smaller increments by taking a 10-minute stroll on your lunch break, or doing a short jog after dinner.
Resistance exercise is any type of exercise that works your muscles against a weight. Weight-lifting is a common form of resistance exercise, but you can also do body-weight-based exercises, like push ups, or use elastic exercise bands. Resistance exercise causes the muscles to contract, which squeezes the veins to stimulate circulation.
You can do two or three sessions a week of resistance exercise either alone, or along with the cardiovascular exercises.
Exercises like yoga and pilates combine the benefits of resistance exercise with stretching. Muscle contractions can assist blood flow, but if your muscles are too tight, they can also constrict blood flow. Stretching exercises help loosen the muscles that might be constricting the veins.
Yoga also has poses that help your body work with gravity. For example, lying on your back with your legs up against the wall can help blood drain from your legs to your heart. This can also help reduce the swelling that often occurs when blood pools in your legs.
Foods high in sodium can cause you to retain water, which could do more damage to the veins. During the periods between treatment sessions, consider reducing your sodium intake and increasing your water intake to maintain the proper fluid balance in your tissues.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides the antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K, which your body needs to maintain proper vein health. Several fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C; seeds and nuts are a great source of vitamin E, and green vegetables are a great source of vitamin K.
You can also take multivitamin supplements that contain these antioxidants.
Special compression garments
Compression garments, like special socks or stockings that provide graduated pressure along your legs can help your veins and circulation. You can use compression garments under clothes or alone, and you can wear them daily for regular support or wear them while you exercise.