You have more than 60,000 miles of vasculature, which means that if you took all your veins, capillaries, and arteries out of your body, they could circle the Earth more than twice.
Most people don’t think about their vein health until something goes wrong, but there are some simple adjustments you can make to eliminate bad habits that may be harming your veins.
At Rockland Thoracic & Vascular Associates, our vein specialists often see the damage caused by everyday habits that lead to spider veins and varicose veins. Untreated, these could progress to more serious conditions, such as bleeding, venous ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis.
To avoid these complications, take a look at some seemingly harmless habits that may be harming your vein health.
You’re not drinking enough water
Your blood is 90% water, so if your tank is low, your blood becomes thicker and has difficulty coursing through your veins normally. If you have venous insufficiency — a condition that affects your veins’ walls and valves — dehydration can make it worse.
You’re sitting around too much
Your veins thrive on activity. Every time your muscles contract, they help move the blood through your vascular system. So if you work a desk job or live a sedentary lifestyle, your veins can’t do their job efficiently. Work exercise into your daily routine to get your blood moving.
You know that smoking is bad for your lungs, but nicotine affects your whole body, including your veins. The chemicals in tobacco remove oxygen from your blood, making it thicker, and it also leads to hardening and narrowing of the veins.
You’re dry brushing
If you’ve adopted the new cosmetic craze of dry brushing, you may be unclogging your pores, getting rid of dead skin cells, and achieving a radiant glow, but you may also be damaging your veins.
Done gently and occasionally, dry brushing can stimulate healthy blood flow, but too much pressure and frequent use can cause micro-tears in your skin that open the door to infection. And if you have compromised venous health already, dry brushing can irritate your veins and increase inflammation.
You eat a lot of sugar
A diet high in sugar increases your blood pressure, and high blood pressure weakens your veins. As the blood slams through your veins, it damages the walls and the one-way valves and you end up with venous disease.
You wear tight clothing
Tight clothing may be fashionable, but it wreaks havoc on your veins. Skinny jeans, belts, elastic cuffs, and tight jewelry restrict your blood circulation. Over time, your fashion statement may harm your veins.
You sleep on your back
If you’re a back sleeper, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your inferior vena cava, a large vein that transports blood from your legs to your heart. To prevent this, switch to sleeping on your left side, as studies show that right-side sleeping may correlate with heart problems.
Habits that positively affect your vein health
In addition to kicking any bad habits you may have, adding a few good ones can turn your vein health around.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing some weight can relieve the pressure on your veins and allow them to heal and return to proper function.
Wearing compression socks can aid your blood flow as your muscles contract.
Elevating your feet a few times a day, especially at the end of the day, can boost your circulation and revive your vein health.
If you notice any of these symptoms of vein problems, come see us:
- Visible veins
- Bulging veins
- Aches and pains
- A sense of heaviness in your legs
- Skin discoloration
- Itching or burning sensations
- Throbbing or cramping
We can diagnose and treat all types of vein disease and reduce your risk for further complications.
To learn the status of your vein health and get expert guidance on caring for your veins, schedule an appointment at any of our five locations in the Washington Heights of Manhattan, Pomona, Goshen, and Fishkill, New York, and Englewood, New Jersey. Call or click today.