Stay up all day at work? 7 tips to reduce your risk of varicose veins

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If you notice any symptoms, try one or more of these seven tips for improving your leg health:

1. Change your position frequently: Better to move than to stay still. Change weight often and stretch or walk at least every 30 minutes, to keep blood from pooling in your veins.

2. Exercise regularly: Make exercise a priority when you’re not at work. Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and improve your circulation. Walking and yoga are great ways to encourage blood circulation in your legs.

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3. Watch your weight: Losing extra pounds relieves your veins. Losing just 10% of your body weight can make a difference.

4. Look at what you are wearing: Avoid clothing that is tight around the waist, legs and groin. Wear low heel shoes instead of high heels.

5. Don’t smoke: If you do, quit. Not smoking is good for your veins and your overall health.

6. Wear compression stockings: You can buy compression stockings at most medical supply stores. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before purchasing stockings, as your legs need to be measured for a proper fit.

7. Elevate your legs: Before or after work, raise your legs above your heart for 15 minutes.

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There are minimally invasive treatment options if your varicose veins don’t respond to these tips. In the past, people with varicose veins were treated with venous stripping, a surgical procedure that produced long scars. Today’s treatment options produce good results, both cosmetic and symptomatic, with little downtime and little scarring.

Radio frequency or laser ablation uses heat or light to damage the vein and cause it to collapse and recede. Another option is sclerotherapy, which injects a solution through a small incision in the ankle to cause the vein to collapse. After either procedure, most people can return to work the next day and see full results within two months.

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Dr Jared Slater is a general surgeon in Mankato and New Prague, Minnesota.


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