Top 5 Best Workouts for Stronger Veins

July 15, 2019

Most people know that regular exercise is good for you. It can help to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of disease and even improve brain function, but did you know that exercise is good for your veins as well? Exercise not only promotes healthy circulation and blood flow, but it also helps you to stay in shape. Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for venous disease or venous insufficiency, of which varicose veins and spider veins are a symptom. When it comes to working out for vein health, however, not all exercises are created equally. At The Vein Care Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we’ve put together a guide of some exercises that can help to strengthen and improve your veins and those you should avoid if you are already affected by varicose veins.

1. Walking

Sitting or standing for prolonged periods is a big risk factor for venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Regularly sitting or standing for an extended amount of time results in poor leg circulation and makes it more difficult for your veins to move blood back to your heart. Consequently, blood can pool in your leg veins, increasing the pressure within and putting stress on the vein walls and valves. Over time, this weakens and damages them, leading to venous insufficiency.

If you sit or stand continuously at work, taking a break every half hour to walk around can help promote good blood circulation. Walking is a low-impact exercise appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. A brief, brisk walk, whether on your break at work at later in the evening, can have a surprisingly positive effect on not only the health of your veins but your overall health. Just 30 minutes of walking each day improves circulation, strengthens and stretches your leg muscles, and helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.

2. Bicycling

Bicycling is another low-impact exercise that is beneficial for vein health. Regular cycling can improve circulation without negatively impacting your joints and help to strengthen and build your leg muscles, such as the calves. By exercising the calf muscles, you improve the calf muscle pump — the muscle pump that facilitates healthy circulation by “pushing” blood in the leg veins upward to help ensure that it returns to the heart. Studies have found that poor calf muscle pump functionality may contribute to a progressive worsening of symptoms in patients with venous insufficiency, but regular exercise can help keep these muscles healthy.

3. Yoga

Yoga is a low-impact exercise that engages the whole body, helping to maintain fitness levels while improving circulation. By combining gentle stretches with a variety of poses that create a balance between strength and flexibility, yoga can help to alleviate some of the pain and swelling associated with venous insufficiency and varicose veins. The dual benefit of exercise and relaxation can also have a positive impact on stress levels and high blood pressure. Yoga won’t cure or prevent venous disease, but it can be beneficial for symptom management by helping to improve blood flow and circulation. Talk to your doctor first to determine which yoga poses might be beneficial to you and if there are any you should avoid.

4. Swimming

According to Harvard Health, swimming is the number one “best exercise” for improving overall health and well-being regardless of age or fitness level. Swimming is especially great for those with arthritis or low mobility due to the supportive buoyancy of the water, which protects the joints, muscles and veins from stress or injury. Muscle groups in the legs, arms, shoulders and abdomen are engaged all at once, allowing patients to strengthen and build muscle without the strain that other exercises can produce. Swimming also improves circulation and provides a great low-impact cardio workout for healthier veins.

5. Leg Lifts

Leg lifts and leg stretches are an exercise that can help aid the body in redirecting blood flow back to the heart while reducing discomfort and swelling due to venous insufficiency. Leg lifts don’t require any special equipment and can be done anywhere to strengthen the leg muscles and improve circulation. Simply lay flat on the floor and lift one leg at a time, holding it in the air for a few seconds before slowly lowering it and repeating the exercise with your other leg.

Exercises to Avoid

If you are affected by venous insufficiency and varicose veins, there are some exercises that can strain your leg muscles, joints and veins. Exercise that is too strenuous can have the opposite effect on circulation and impede blood flow, worsening the symptoms of venous disease.

Running

While running helps to strengthen your calf muscles, it can be hard on your joints and muscles. The high-impact nature of running puts a lot of pressure on your legs each time they hit the ground, which can strain or aggravate your veins. For patients with varicose veins, this may worsen symptoms such as discomfort and swelling. Running on softer terrain and wearing light compression stockings can help reduce the impact on your legs.

Weightlifting

Weightlifting increases abdominal pressure and strains on your veins, making it more difficult for blood to return to the heart. Proper techniques and lighter weights can make lifting safer, but patients with venous disease should talk to their doctor before doing any weight training. Resistance training may be a good option instead.

Sit-ups

Sit-ups and crunches also increase abdominal pressure, subsequently raising the pressure in the veins in your legs. This can lead to vein dilation and valve damage that causes blood to pool in the legs, worsening venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

When Exercise Isn’t an Option

At The Vein Care Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we recognize that regular exercise may not be feasible for some patients. If exercise isn’t an option, there are still a few things you can do to improve your circulation and overall vein health:

  • Wear compression stockings to help blood flow in the proper direction
  • Calf raises or rocking your heels back and forth can help activate the calf pump muscle to improve circulation
  • Elevate your legs to reduce swelling and keep blood from pooling
  • Rotate your ankles to help blood flow back to the heart

While exercise can’t cure or prevent venous disease, it can help to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms and improve the health of your veins. It’s important not to over-exert yourself, however, as this can cause strain and pressure that can cause swelling or discomfort. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can treat the symptoms of venous insufficiency, the vein care specialist Dr. James Jimenez at The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin offers a variety of effective treatments for Florida patients in Pensacola or Destin, or Alabama patients in Foley. Contact or call The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin at 1-800-910-VEIN to set up a consultation or receive a free vein screening today!

Understanding Restless Legs Syndrome

October 30, 2017

woman with restless legs syndromeDo you find yourself drifting off to sleep at night, just to be awakened by an involuntary muscle movement or an aching pain in your legs? An occasional muscle twitch or leg cramp is normal, but if this is a nightly occurrence, you may be suffering from restless legs syndrome.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that can cause pain and the urge to move your legs when you are lying down or sitting. Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes RLS, but they know that it is a disorder of the nervous system that affects around 10 percent of the population. It can be an issue for anyone, although it is found more often in women and people who are middle-aged or older.

The symptoms of RLS can mimic other diseases, so it is sometimes difficult to properly diagnose. Nerve problems, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s – each of these have symptoms that are similar to those of RLS.

Symptoms of RLS

People suffering from RLS often report that the condition worsens at night, keeping them from getting restful sleep. Because of this, RLS is sometimes also characterized as a sleep disorder. The reason for increased symptoms at night is attributed to the fact that RLS worsens when you are not moving.

RLS typically begins slowly, affecting your legs more and more as time goes on. If you have restless legs syndrome, you probably notice pain, cramping or aching deep in your legs, or a tingling, itching or burning sensation. This is accompanied by a nearly irresistible urge to move your legs to relieve the discomfort, hence, the restless legs. Symptoms can come and go, and range from mild to severe, though they are usually worse at night.

Causes of RLS

Since the root origin of RLS isn’t known, there are several factors associated with it that may or may not be the initiator of the problem. Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • Genetics (approximately 50 percent of RLS sufferers have a family member with RLS)
  • Obesity
  • Chronic disease (diabetes, Parkinson’s, peripheral neuropathy)
  • Venous issues (varicose veins, poor circulation)
  • Medications (certain antihistamines and antidepressants)

Treatment Options for RLS

Diagnosing RLS is tricky, and involves blood tests and other diagnostic tools to rule out other conditions, as well as a discussion of your health history, medications, and symptoms. Once it is determined that you have RLS, there are several options that may help ease your symptoms, including:

  • Lifestyle changes – movement helps decrease RLS symptoms, so walking more often and more regularly can help. If you smoke, quitting may help, along with decreasing your intake of alcohol and caffeine may also help.
  • Better sleep habits – creating and sticking to a sleep schedule, including a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Self-care – leg massages, ice packs or heating pads applies to the legs, relaxation and a hot bath are also ways to help alleviate RLS symptoms.
  • Vein screening – because varicose veins and other leg circulation issues may be a cause of your RLS, regular checkups and necessary treatments can not only help your RLS, but ensure that your venous system is functioning properly.
  • Medications – over-the-counter pain relievers, as well as certain prescription drugs may also alleviate pain or aches associated with RLS.

At The Vein Center of Florida and The Vein Center of South Baldwin, we want to do what we can so you can live your best life. Through regular vein screenings, we can help diagnose associated conditions you may have, including restless legs syndrome. If you suffer from RLS, call us today at 1-800-910-VEIN to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jimenez.

Arteries vs. Veins: What’s the difference?

October 12, 2017

Spider & Varicose VeinsAt the Vein Centers of Florida and South Baldwin, we specialize in removing unsightly and painful varicose and spider veins. Varicose and spider veins are conditions that affect a large population of people, especially women. Understanding how the veins work and how these natural deformities are caused is essential in understanding how to treat them.

What do veins do?

Veins, a member of the circulatory system, work in tandem with the heart and their counterpart, the arteries. While veins and arteries exist for similar reasons, mainly blood transportation throughout the body, their essential functions are quite different.

Veins are blood vessels in the body that transport oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. After blood has been circulated to the organs and has been stripped of its oxygen and nutrients, the veins transport it back up to the heart to begin the process anew. The veins also transport waste, such as carbon dioxide, away from the organs.

Veins often pump blood against the flow of gravity and make use of valves to prevent the blood from flowing downwards. When the valves do not function properly, the blood begins to pool and the veins expand, creating bulging varicose veins. This occurs most frequently in the veins in the lower legs, since they have to work much harder to move the blood against gravity and the body’s own weight to the heart.

What do arteries do?

Arteries are the roadways that provide our organs with substances they need to survive and function. These essential vessels carry oxygenated blood from the heart to all the tissues of the human body.

The heart pumps the blood through the arteries, increasing pressure inside to move the blood in a single direction. Arteries can maintain that high blood pressure due to their strong lining and flexible walls that allow for the additional push of blood. Because of this unique design and the assistance they receive from the heart, they do not need valves to prevent backflow.

Our Vulnerable Veins

Because arteries do not need valves to keep blood moving efficiently, they are not prone to the same issues veins are. Valves tend to break down as the body ages, which can be exacerbated by weight gain, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. Veins also transport blood largely upwards, creating additional strain on those tiny valves that can lead to damage and the backflow of blood into the vessel.

Veins are a crucial part of the human anatomy. Unfortunately, they are vulnerable to damage, leading to the unsightly appearance of spider and varicose veins. When left unchecked, these swollen vessels can also cause fatigue in the legs, pain, aching and skin changes. The longer varicose veins go untreated, the harder they can be to treat successfully.

If bulging, unsightly or painful veins have disrupted your life in any way, give the Vein Centers of Florida and South Baldwin a call today. We offer full vein assessments and a variety of minimally-invasive treatment options to eliminate unattractive, uncomfortable spider and varicose veins. You can reach our Pensacola location at 850-607-7570, our Destin location at 850-837-443 and our Foley location at 251-971-8346.

For Stronger, Healthy Veins, Eat and Drink These Things

May 30, 2017

fruit basketWorking out, eating well and maintaining low stress levels can keep your heart running efficiently, but what about your veins? A fit heart pumps blood vigorously through strong arteries. When the blood needs to cycle back to your heart, it flows through a network of veins. The only way your blood is permitted upward flow (against gravity) is by clear and elastic veins that can move blood in one direction back to your heart.

Valves within your veins act as doors that open and close to assist upward blood flow. It’s essential that your veins are able to resist the pressure that’s needed to move your blood. Without pressure-resistant qualities, your circulation patterns change as vein walls and their valves weaken. Varicose and spider veins are the results of vein disease. Healthy veins can make your life a lot easier which is why at Vein Center of Florida, we’ve composed a list of items you can eat and drink for stronger, clearer veins.

Fill Your Plate With Color

Every nutritionist around the world will tell you to color up your plate with fruits and vegetables because they are loaded with vitamins to supplement protein synthesis and metabolic function. All the latest studies that focus on vascular health and nutrition mention a Mediterranean diet which includes most things that grow on the vine and are organic. A Mediterranean diet also means seafood, so if you love sushi there some types, you should consider ordering over others to fight potential vascular disease.

Foods that contain a cholesterol combative vitamin B3 (niacin) include tuna, salmon, sardines, peanuts, chili peppers, green peas, bok choy, turnip greens and cantaloupe. While niacin keeps the veins clear of build up, it also reinforces strong vein walls by rebuilding the layered tissue (collagen and elastin) and helps reduce inflammation.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

No one can argue the healing properties of water and that our bodies need it because, without it, we couldn’t survive. Water lubricates every tissue in the body, and it also creates balance. We drink water to detox our cells which can help with oxidative stress by offering additional molecules for excess oxygen to bind. Water also helps maintain functional muscles that support your veins when high pressure overcomes them.

You should ask your doctor if drinking a glass of red wine each night is healthy for you and the medications you’re currently taking. But drinking a small glass of red wine each night can have rejuvenating effects on your veins. If you veins swell and become inflamed, tannins found in red wine can help to tighten vein walls making them resistant to over stretching. Tighter veins mean your valves are less likely to leak which is where the main issue with varicose veins begins.

Eat Fiber

Less stress on your lower extremities is important. Fiber can help you release that stress that happens in the most private place—your bathroom. Eating regular fiber means that you’ll have an easier time in there without causing bouts of overexertion. Some of our favorite fiber-rich foods include:

  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Raspberries
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseed (try these in your pancakes)
  • Chia seeds (perfect for thickening overnight oats)

Vein conditions are linked to your genetic background, and you should think about having a FREE screening for varicose veins and potential blood clots if your parents had vein problems. Eating these foods and drinking more fluids will help you boost your immune strength against varicose and spider veins. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Jimenez today to find out if you have an existing vein condition and how to fix it by calling Vein Center of Florida at 800-910-VEIN.

Tips to Support Impeccable Vein Health

May 23, 2017

shutterstock_621519020You always keep your ear to the ground when it comes to healthy tips for problem-free veins and Dr. Jimenez has a few for you. Impeccable vein health starts with the rest of your body including how supported your feet are, how much activity you get on a daily basis and how well you maintain an appropriate weight. Everything is a factor since your veins respond to pressures created by excess weight, inactivity and improperly supported feet. Instead of simply thinking in terms of your cholesterol levels and whether or not you’re alternating positions enough at work, let’s go a little deeper. Here are your tips for supporting vein health:

Be Active

In addition to changing your position if you’re someone who sits or stands for hours, being active and moving in between position changes is essential. Try setting a timer to get up and stretch your legs or take a walk around your home or office building. When your blood sits at the base of your legs, that pooling of fluid causes your veins to expand over time from pressure. To assist your blood in flowing upward to the heart, moving your calf muscles will propel the blood upward. Strong calves and surrounding muscle tissues mean supported veins. We also recommend trying out exercises that cause you to change your body’s orientation, so workouts such as pilates or yoga forces you to bend or lay on your back with elevated legs. Have some fun with it while you cultivate healthy circulation.

Elevate Your Legs at the End of the Day

Maybe you’re not into yoga, or you’re a teacher or doctor that sits or stands for a majority of your day. When your schedule doesn’t allow for a high amount of exercise or modified body positions, Dr. Jimenez recommends elevating your legs for a few minutes each night. This elevated position passively allows your blood to flow back to the upper portion of your body and your heart. By doing this, you can relieve stress on your veins in the lower extremities that have struggled all day. To see and feel the difference, you should do this every day and extend the position up to twenty minutes if you feel pain when walking or restlessness.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Pressure on the lower body comes from added weight, and that means too much weight for your body style. During your next appointment with your GP or in consultation with Dr. Jimenez at Vein Center of Florida, ask them to check your weight and offer recommendations to reach an ideal weight. Often weight accumulates at the abdomen and adds pressure on your internal organs that also make it difficult for your legs veins to push your blood upward. When the pressure becomes too much, and veins are constricted, they’ll expand, valves will have trouble closing, and varicose veins start to appear. Losing a few pounds can maintain smooth blood flow and a healthy appearance in veins.

Wear the Right Footwear

If you’re having problems with your feet, such as arch support, or put unnecessary pressure on your calves, everything above your feet will suffer. Don’t think of your shoes as just protection from the ground, but as a starting point for a strong body. Wearing high heels stresses the calves and weakens them so that their ability to assist veins in pumping blood upward is reduced. Improper support and pain in the feet reduces circulation and can keep you from being active. Get yourself a pair of inserts that offer arch support and make you feel comfortable while you walk. You should pay attention to the fit of your shoes as well because this can negatively impact your vein health even if they’re slightly too big or too small.

Prepare for healthier veins as soon as you can and have a vein screening if you feel discomfort, or your parents had vein problems. Call Vein Center of Florida to get started today at 800-910-VEIN.

Progression of Vein Disease

March 2, 2017

Progression of Vein DiseaseVein disease is a common condition that could affect as many as half of all adults by the time they turn 60. The key to effective treatment is to address the condition as early as possible. The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin have listed the major stages of vein disease to help you understand if your condition requires the evaluation of a vein specialist.

 

Spider Veins

In the earliest stage of vein disease, you might notice networks of red or blue lines on the leg that resemble a spider’s web. Known as spider veins or telangiectasia, these patterns can be an indication your lower leg veins are being over-taxed. This means small valves inside the vessels may be wearing out, allowing blood to pool inside the vein so that it enlarges and becomes visible on the skin’s surface. In most cases these are simply a cosmetic nuisance, however, in some cases, spider veins can signify an underlying more significant venous problem. If this is left unattended, this may progress to visible varicose veins.

 

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are larger visible vessels that can be red, blue or flesh-colored and often protrude above the surface of the skin. These swollen vessels are nearly always found on the lower leg, often behind the knee. Varicose veins are a sign that your vein disease is progressing, particularly when they are accompanied by heaviness and pain.

 

Edema

Many times, progression of vein disease can be characterized by swelling of the lower leg, ankle, and foot. Also known as edema, this symptom can cause tightness in the skin. The symptom may improve when the legs are elevated, but will typically return when the elevation stops. The swelling may be worse at the end of the day, when the legs are fatigued.

 

Skin Discoloration

If the vein disease is not addressed at this point, it may continue to progress with signs that may become permanent even if the veins are treated later on. One of those signs is discoloration of the skin around where the varicose veins have appeared. The skin may turn red or brown and may take on a leathery look and feel. Skin may also become thinner at this stage, which can make the leg more vulnerable to injury.

 

Skin Ulceration

At this final stage of vein disease, skin ulcerations begin to form. These large, gaping sores can be the result of a small nick or scratch that quickly progresses to a more serious wound due to the poor circulation and increased pressure caused by the damaged veins. These ulcerations can be difficult to treat, often taking many months to heal completely. They also have a very high recurrence rate, particularly if the underlying cause of the vein disease is not detected and properly treated.

 

Because of the potential of permanent damage to the leg, it is best to treat vein disease before it progresses too far. Physicians like Dr. Jimenez that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of vein diseases can provide you with an early diagnosis and the best prognosis for eliminating the varicose veins and other symptoms permanently.

 

If you have noticed some of the early signs of vein disease, it is best to seek care sooner rather than later. Contact the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin at 800-310-8346 to find out how we can help you treat your vein disease and eliminate unsightly varicose veins.

4 Reasons You Need to Schedule a Vein Screening

September 15, 2015

Reasons You Need to Schedule a Vein Screening | Varicose Vein Treatment Center | South BaldwinYou know those bulging, twisting varicose veins on your lower leg are unattractive, but did you also know they might be a sign of a more serious, underlying vein condition? A vein screening is a necessary tool to let your physician know if there are any issues going on underneath the surface that need to be addressed in your treatment program. At Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we have four good reasons to take the time for a vein screening before discussing treatment for your varicose veins.

Non-Invasive Procedure
Vein screening is a non-invasive way to determine how your veins are functioning. These examinations typically include a focused medical history, visual examination of your veins, and Doppler assessment of the abnormal veins. In some cases, ultrasound may be recommended to see inside the veins to determine how well blood is moving through the vessels. None of these tests require incisions, anesthesia or even preparation beforehand, making vein screening an easy and necessary part of the vein treatment process.

Insurance Coverage
In many cases, varicose vein treatment may be covered at least in part by your insurance company. To qualify for coverage, many companies require description of symptoms and documentation of non-invasive conservative treatment.  Vein assessment by a qualified physician is a necessary part of determining whether treatment will provide medical benefit and thus be covered by insurance.

Potential Risks Of Untreated Varicose Veins.
Besides being unsightly, untreated varicose veins predispose an individual to certain medical conditions. People with varicose veins have a higher risk of skin changes, leg ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Any of these can lead to significant medical issues which may be very difficult to manage. Vein screening will help educate a patient and understand how significant their broken veins are.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Varicose veins may also be associated with a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. CVI occurs when the small valves inside the veins become damaged or wear out, allowing blood to pool in the lower legs. This leads to swelling of the vessels, the appearance of varicose veins, and chronic leg swelling among other things. A vein screening can detect CVI to determine the best treatment protocol for the condition, while also eliminating unsightly varicose veins.

At Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we offer free vein screenings to diagnose vein conditions and recommend the best vein treatment for you. To learn more about our screening options, contact Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin at 800-910-VEIN.