Hi, Doctor Gan here. Some of the patients that I meet, have noticed varicose veins just pop up in their legs. There other patients that have had these varicose veins for many years. These same group of patients, for personal reasons, may not be ready to get treatment straight away. However, they do want to reduce their symptoms, even prevent the progression of vein disease. If you happen to fall into this category, today I’m going to be discussing some of the conservative options available to reduce symptoms, and even prevent progression.
Now, the first form of treatment is compression stockings. Now, compression stockings, in my opinion, is one of the best forms of treatments because it reduces symptoms such as aching and swelling in your leg, and it also prevents the formation of a clot. The only challenge that patients have is that they find it a little bit cumbersome to put these stockings on and even take off, and they may also find it uncomfortable because it’s probably the tightest stockings they’ve ever worn.
It’s important to note that these stockings are not the same stockings you get in the supermarket or store. They are actually medical grade stockings that you need to measure specifically for your legs, and therefore they can be a lot tighter than you expect. At our clinic, this is a service we offer, so if this is a form of treatment that you plan to pursue, we are happy to help.
Another option available is exercise. Now, the calf muscle pump is one of the best pumps we have in our body, and what it does is every time it basically squeezes together, it pushes blood all the way from your legs back up to your heart, and it improves the blood flow. So, by actually flexing and extending your foot, you’re actually activating this calf muscle pump that is pumping blood back up to your heart, and this can improve symptoms. Now, by exercising, you’re also keeping your weight down, which eventually helps reduce symptoms and even prevent progression of vein disease.
A third option is elevation of your legs. Now, elevation is great because when you’re standing for long periods of time, you’re basically through gravity, you’re getting blood flowing all the way to your legs, and if your valves in your veins are damaged, it’s going to be hard for it to be pumped up. And so, by elevating your legs by putting it up on a table or a chair, a little bit above your heart level, you’re basically allowing gravity to get that blood back into the heart.
Now, another option is lying on your bed and actually putting your legs on the wall, and this can actually help relieve symptoms quite quickly. The next option available is medications. Now, medications can include anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Voltaren, they are essentially non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. I’m not a huge fan personally, because anti-inflammatories can often cause a lot of trouble in your tummy, with your gut flora, which are the bugs in your tummy.
They can cause symptoms such as gastritis, and nausea at times, and even the formation of ulcers. So they cause irritating symptoms that you did not really want to have, but I can understand that for some patients that have reached the end, where compression’s not helping and elevation’s not helping, some anti-inflammatories can help. Now, I would advise that if you reached this level of pain or symptoms that you can’t handle and you need medication, you may have to look at treatment options because you using medication, is really kind of a bandaid effect.
Now, the final option that I have, which I think is actually very important, is essentially food, and we’ve heard the saying, food is medicine, and there are certain types of food, especially fruits and vegetables that are great for your vein health. And flavonoids is a type of chemical that’s actually found in vegetables and fruits. It’s an antioxidant. It basically prevents clot formation, and also improves vein health, reduces blood pressure and reduces cholesterol. This can be found in most berries, it can be found in grapes, it can be found in olives and even apples.
It’s full of vitamin C, which is great for your skin as well as your vein health, and if you’re eating healthy what that tends to mean, is that you tend to have a better weight, so it’s a win, win, any way you look at it. If you need further information regarding the conservative options available, we are always happy to help. Visit our website at doctorvein.com.au, or book yourself in for consultation.