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    Articles

    Dealing with Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins occur when the veins are overfilled with blood and become dilated. The condition typically appears swollen and have a bluish-purple color or red color on the surface of the skin. There are several reasons in the development of the condition varicose veins and quite a lot of risk factors like family history, obesity, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or standing, hormonal replacement and others. Here are some of the few tips that can help prevent worsen varicose veins.

    Being in a stagnant position like standing and sitting for long period of time makes the blood harder to travel up the leg veins fighting against gravity which causes an increase in blood pressure in the veins. This condition will cause the blood to pool around the feet, ankles, and calves. If your work requires you to sit at a desk, then you can perform a small exercise on the lower extremities such as peddling the feet, rotating the ankles and bending the knees like in a marching manner. Elevating the legs and feet for fifteen (15) minutes, three (3x) times a day will result in better blood circulation and minimal swelling.

    Compression hosiery can also aid in keeping the valves of the vein in the right position. Stabilizing the vein valves in the correct position makes it easy for the vein to function properly and can help reduce blood pooling that leads to less swelling and pain. Night cramps might be experienced for first time user of supported compression but it will be disappeared in a few days. There are various types of compression levels like mild, moderate, firm and extra firm, so it is important to talk to the physician for the appropriate compression level suited to the damage of the vein area.

    Obesity can cause high pressure inside the veins, which is considered as one of the aggravating factors of varicose veins. Having a healthy diet based complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fat can help stay away from obesity. Drinking enough water a day can help healthy blood circulation.

    Exercising regularly can help prevent varicose veins, even minimal exercise like walking is beneficial. Yoga is also a good option especially the poses that bring the feet higher than the heart because it can help to have better blood circulation. Yoga can stretch and tone the deepest muscles in the calves and hamstring in an appropriate way that can help the vein valves work properly.

    Sadly, pregnant women have some of the greatest risks of getting varicose veins. Like they don’t have enough to worry about, right? Here’s a tip you can use to start your mornings right. It is suggested that you sleep on your side, more beneficial on the left side, for pregnant women to help prevent varicose veins from forming and to also ease symptoms of existing conditions because it helps increase blood circulation and nutrients, and reduces pressure on the veins in the pelvic region caused by the expanding uterus.

    Look, we can’t do much about our age, gender and family history, but we can maintain a healthy diet, regular exercise and keep our blood pressure healthy. It all starts with understanding your body.

    DOs and DON'Ts for Leg Compression

    Doctors recommend wearing leg compression apparel for a variety of lower extremities medical problems because it can provide adequate compression on the legs that increase circulation of blood up and out of the legs and feet. If the doctor prescribed wearing leg compression apparel, it is necessary to understand how to wear it and properly care for it. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when wearing leg compression apparel.

    DO measure the legs carefully before buying leg compression apparel. Having the wrong size of compression apparel can make the user uncomfortable and will not get the medical benefits of compression. For the leg compression to be comfortable and effective it is best to get the right size of the legs.

    DO care for and wash the leg compression apparel every day. Most medical practitioners recommend wearing compression daily for the maximum benefit so the apparel should be wash daily also. It is not only for personal hygiene but to extend the life of the apparel. Due to the long hours of wearing the apparel, it stretches to fit the legs and washing them helps return the apparel to its original shape.

    DO use gloves to put on the leg compression apparel like a donning glove, it reduces the chance that the apparel will snag from the fingernail. It also offers protection and grip which makes it much easier to put on the leg compression apparel.

    DO put the leg compression first hour in the morning because the legs and feet are less swollen in the morning and it is easy to slip on the legs if it is not swollen.

    Do change the leg compression apparel every 4 months because the elastic will eventually break down from daily usage. An indication that the compression apparel needs to be replaced is when it starts to sag or becomes very easy to put on.

    DON’T roll the leg compression apparel when putting it on and taking it off because rolling creates a tight band in a certain part of the apparel that cuts off circulation and causes soreness.

    DON’T wear leg compression apparel at night when sleeping because the legs are already in a neutral position when lying down and allows for normal blood flow. Instead of wearing compression socks when lying down, elevate the legs with a couple of pillows. This position can facilitate regular blood flow because the legs are above the heart level.

    DON’T put chlorine bleach on the compression apparel when cleaning because it can damage the elasticity of the apparel due to harsh chemicals present in bleach.

    DON’T wring out compression apparel when drying because forceful actions like wringing and scrubbing will damage the apparel. To remove excess water just ball it up and squeeze gently.

    DON’T alter any compression apparel because cutting off any part of the compression apparel can damage and obstruct the performance of the apparel and can even cause problems rather than provide relief.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.

    The Art of Compression for Athletes

    Most athletes nowadays wear expensive compression socks, tights, sleeves and other garments to hold muscles firmly in place. The tight-fitting apparel is thought to improve blood flow to the parts of the body particularly the muscles that can help boost athletic performance. Due to its popularity in sports, a lot of questions pop out regarding compression like its effectiveness in leg compression for athletes and how much more they could improve with it. Let’s all find out.

    We’ll begin our discussion with an explanation about the concept behind leg compression and how it works. There are many kinds of leg compression but the most common for athletes are compression socks and sleeves. Blood circulation starts at the heart, where oxygenated blood is being pumped to the extremities and muscles. The cells absorb and use the oxygen and nutrients from the blood, afterwards the deoxygenated blood carries lactic acid and other waste products through the veins and back up to the heart. When the deoxygenated blood reaches the heart, the process is repeated.

    Oxygenated blood is important for the performance of athletes because the more oxygen that flows through the blood the better the muscles will function. During vigorous activity and exercise the body produces waste product, for example, Lactic acid - if not removed the muscles can contribute to muscle pain or soreness which lead to the decreased ability to perform. Activities that are physically demanding produce muscular vibrations which contribute to fatigue and damage.

    Leg compression, like socks and sleeves, offer graduated compression which means that the compression is higher or tighter at the foot and ankle areas, and lower or weaker compression as it moves up the calf. These types of leg compression garments facilitate the fight against gravity and support the return of the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

    Consistent compression in optimal level will increase the blood flow of the body because the walls of the arteries will dilate allowing more blood to flow. This also means that more nutrients and oxygen will be transported throughout the body especially to the affected area, thus recovery is quicker than usual. The veins will also constrict under consistent compression that increases the velocity of the blood flow, thus allowing the deoxygenated blood and lactic acid to return back to the heart faster, which will help increase the rate of recovery and decrease muscle soreness. The leg compression garment can stabilize the leg muscles that decrease the vibration of the muscles resulting in the reduction of fatigue.

    Leg compression garments are good for shin splints, calf cramps, and Achilles tendonitis, it can help lessen the pain and soreness of the injured part but it will not cure any condition. All injuries should be assessed by a physician to address the real cause of discomfort.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.

    A Look at Varicose Veins

    Do you hate having random blemishes and lumps form under the skin? Feels like everyone has front row seats making you feel awkward and uncomfortable. One form of these symptoms is what is known as varicose veins and are generally benign. Varicose veins can be found in other parts of the body but are seen most often in the legs that appear to be bumpy and twisting vessels just below the surface of the skin. Veins have three categories namely the superficial veins, deep veins, and perforator veins. Superficial veins are located below the surface of the skin, while the deep veins can be found deep in the muscles like the large blood vessels. The perforator veins connect the two earlier mentioned veins, superficial veins, and deep veins. The blood vessels most often affected by the varicose veins condition are the superficial veins and they are also the veins that are visible when the varicose condition has developed.

     

    Varicose veins will start to be visible on the skin when more valves fail to close allowing the flow of the blood downward. If the blood pressure in a particular section of vein increases, it will cause additional valves to fail to close allowing more blood to pool and stretching the veins, leading to further deterioration of the vein walls. The veins affected by varicose veins lose elasticity in response to the increased blood pressure making the vessel walls weak, which leads to more and more valves not functioning properly. Over the course of time, varicose veins will appear in a distasteful light underneath the skin when the veins become larger and distorted. Varicose veins in the superficial veins are called primary varicosities while the development in the deep veins are known as secondary varicosities.

    Life with varicose veins, particularly in the legs, is not an easy one. It can hinder the day to day activities of a person, it can even affect the individual's psychological and physical health. Some people lose confidence and self-esteem because they cannot accept and deal with the unpleasant appearance of varicose veins. Recovering from a loss of confidence is sometimes so difficult that it can change your personality negatively. Some symptoms of this could be the changing of your fashion statement because of paranoia from people noticing their varicose vein bulge. For example, if you were fond of wearing skirts or shorts then you may decide to replace your whole wardrobe to compensate for the situation.

    Varicose veins can have a huge impact on your lifestyle due to the pains and aches it gives. The pain can get worse during the night which could keep you awake all night long leading to sleep deprivation. It can get in the way of activities like hiking, running or walking. The distractions of dealing with varicose veins could eventually lead to sluggish work because too much sitting and standing can worsen the condition. Untreated varicose veins can also cause more severe complications such as blood clots, skin damage, and leg ulcerations.

    If you see bulging veins on the surface of your legs you might want to take into consideration visiting a specialist to check if there can be an underlying venous issue other than varicose veins.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Deep vein thrombosis, commonly known as DVT, occurs when blood clots form deep in the veins in the lower extremities like the legs, thighs or pelvis but can also occur in the upper extremities like the arms. Understanding the condition is a necessity because it can happen to anyone causing serious harm, disability and, in some cases, death because it is often underdiagnosed. The good news is deep vein thrombosis, as serious as it is, can be prevented and/or treated if discovered early on.

    Pulmonary embolism or PE is the biggest complication that could arise from deep vein thrombosis which occurs when a part of the clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream up to the lungs causing a blockage. You can recover from this problem provided that the clot is not serious and appropriate treatment is administered, but it may still cause some damage to the lungs. If the clot is large enough it can cause fatal situations by completely stopping blood from reaching your vital organs.

    Approximately one-third of patients who have deep vein thrombosis will have long-term complications, most commonly, post-thrombotic syndrome where the leaflet valves in the veins become damaged from the blood clot. The complication usually shows symptoms like swelling, pain, discoloration and scaling or ulcers in the affected part in severe cases, symptoms can even reach to the point that a person becomes disabled.

    Everyone is prone to these conditions, but certain factors can increase this risk. Vein injuries are often caused by fractures, muscle injuries or major surgeries, particularly the abdomen, pelvis, hip or leg region. Another is slow blood flow due to long confinement in bed as a result of a medical condition or surgery, limited leg movement, sitting for a too long a period or paralysis. High estrogen levels are another risk factor and is often caused by pregnancy until six weeks after giving birth, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Other risks include a chronic medical illness, history of DVT or clotting disorders, age, and obesity.

    Under certain conditions, DVT could develop in anyone, but there are several ways to prevent this. If you’re confined to your bed due to surgery, illness or injury it is suggested to move around if possible. Talk to a medical practitioner if a person is at a high risk for developing the condition on how to prevent by medication or using graduated compression apparel. During long hours of travel, it is recommended to get up and walk every after 2 to 3 hours, exercise the legs and foot while sitting and wear loose-fitting clothes. The best way to reduce the risk of developing the condition is to live a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding a sedentary life.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.