Simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your vascular health, and it’s important to take them seriously. The vascular system is made up of blood vessels that carry blood to and from the body’s tissues and organs. It’s responsible for providing oxygen to vital organs as well as transporting waste to the kidneys and out of your body. The vascular system is comprised of arteries, which move blood from the heart to the organs, and the veins which return blood to the heart.
An estimated 40% of people in the United States have chronic venous insufficiency. The skilled specialists at Virginia Vein Care have a few easy suggestions on how to improve your vascular health so you can avoid symptoms of vein disease like varicose veins, leg swelling and leg pain.
How to improve your vascular health
Here are three things you can do at home to improve your vascular health:
1. Eat well and move your body every day
Limit foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Both are large contributors to plaque that can obstruct your arteries and prevent blood from flowing to and from your heart as well as possible. Add these delicious food options to your diet to improve your vascular health: steel-cut or old-fashioned oats, flaxseed, salmon, avocados, olive oil, nuts, blueberries, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans), spinach and soy protein. In addition to eating well, it’s important to move your body every day to keep your blood flowing, especially to your legs and feet. This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
2. Lose weight if needed
If you are carrying around excess weight, it’s time to start a diet and exercise program. Not only does the extra weight put extra pressure on the leg veins and valves, but it also inhibits proper blood flow and circulation. Improper circulation can lead to blood clots, a potentially life-threatening complication of poor vascular health. You don’t have to start an intense exercise and weight training program to begin losing weight. Most weight loss happens in the kitchen. Fill your plate with a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats to kickstart your metabolism and fuel your body with healthy foods.
3. Manage your blood pressure
Did you know hypertension (high blood pressure) is the most common underlying circulatory problem causing symptoms associated with diseased arteries? High blood pressure is associated with heart attacks, strokes, and the general condition of ‘hardening of the arteries.’ High blood pressure is a chronic problem which can reduce a person’s lifespan. While medications are frequently needed to control elevated blood pressure, here are 10 ways you can control your blood pressure without medication:
- Lose excess weight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sodium intake
- Limit alcohol intake
- Limit caffeine intake
- Quit smoking
- Take steps to lower stress (e.g., meditation, yoga, daily gratitude)
In addition to actively taking steps to improve your overall vascular health, it’s valuable to elevate your legs above your heart occasionally to improve venous circulation. This is particularly important for anyone who has a job that requires them to sit or stand in one place for long periods of time. Sitting or standing for prolonged periods can also result in vein diseases like venous insufficiency and associated spider and varicose veins. Visit a Virginia Vein Care location near you for safe and effective vein care treatments. We specialize in a range of minimally invasive, state-of-the-art alternatives to vein surgery, including radiofrequency (RF) closure and sclerotherapy.