Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins

Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are those unsightly bulging veins that you often see on legs or feet. If you have them, you’re probably aware of the discomfort or pain they can cause—especially after a long day of standing or sitting.

Compression therapy helps reduce the inflammation and pain caused by varicose veins—it also improves poor blood circulation.

Is compression therapy always the best way to treat varicose veins? And how does compression therapy for varicose veins work?

Here are the answers.


What Are Varicose Veins?

People usually find varicose veins—those enlarged and twisted veins—on their calves, ankles, and/or thighs. But they can be almost anywhere on your body. The veins are dark purple or blue and aren’t often a medical concern.

However, for many people, varicose veins are a cosmetic concern; they cause embarrassment when you’re wearing shorts, a skirt, or a bathing suit.

Other times, varicose veins can reveal a budding health issue or even pose a health risk themselves.

Varicose veins are caused by valve problems within the veins. Valves become damaged or weak and blood circulation is affected; the blood begins to pool in the legs and veins enlarge.


A woman sitting on a couch rubbing her aching leg


Some symptoms associated with varicose veins include:

  • Swelling in the ankles or legs
  • A feeling of heaviness in your legs
  • Itching around the vein area
  • Achiness or pain in your legs
  • Skin discoloration around the veins

At times, untreated varicose veins lead to other health issues, including venous ulcerations or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

The weakening of vein walls from chronic vein valve problems is a common cause of CVI. Blood flow toward the heart decreases and instead blood pools in the legs. CVI itself is not life-threatening but can lead to serious health complications including deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and leg ulcers.

Read about warning signs and diagnosing varicose vein disease.


Causes of Varicose Veins

Factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins include:

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Increased blood pressure in the veins


What is Compression Therapy?

Many vein doctors consider compression therapy to be the first line of treatment for mild-to-moderate varicose veins. They often suggest combining compression therapy with leg elevation or movement exercises.

Compression therapy helps eliminate many of the physical symptoms associated with varicose veins. It can also help with leg or foot discomfort associated with:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Pregnancy


An infographic showing how compression socks improve blood flow


Compression treatment is non-invasive; it simply involves wearing compression (elastic) socks, stockings, or wraps. By applying continuous pressure to your legs and squeezing leg muscles, the compression clothing helps push blood upward against gravity, making it easier for blood to flow back to your heart.

This treatment also keeps fluid from building up in the legs, feet, and ankles, prevents blood clots, and helps ulcers heal on the skin.

Your legs will feel:

  • More comfortable
  • Less painful
  • Less tired
  • Less swollen
  • Better supported

Wearing the proper compression stockings will also help keep veins from getting worse.

A vein specialist can evaluate your vein health and recommend the exact type and amount of compression that will work best for you. You can purchase some compression stockings over the counter, while others require a prescription.

Compression stockings are also often recommended both before and after vein treatment.

Learn more about the symptoms and causes of poor circulation in the legs and feet.


Types of Compression Therapy


Closeup of a hiker’s legs with compression socks on.


Compression socks

Compression socks may extend to different lengths, from just over the ankle to up to your knee.

If you’re standing or sitting for extended periods during the day, ankle compression socks can keep your feet feeling comfortable.

Manufacturers rate socks to show the pressure they provide.

Units of measurement are listed as “mmHg,” which stands for millimeters of mercury—a measurement of pressure. Compression sock ratings include:

  • Low—less than 20 mmHg—do not require a prescription
  • Medium—20-30 mmHg—require a prescription
  • High—More than 30 mmHg—require a prescription

If you have moderate-to-severe varicose veins, your doctor will probably write you a prescription for compression socks for pain relief and improved circulation.


Compression Stockings


A woman putting  on compression stockings


Compression socks are a common type of compression wear. They reach up to the knee. Longer compression stockings (sleeves or tights) are available if swelling goes higher than your knee.

Compression stockings can be rated or not rated for pressure. The socks and stockings should feel comfortably snug but shouldn’t feel overly tight or painful.


Velcro Wraps and Bandages

These compression items are helpful for people who have trouble putting on socks. The elastic bandages often require several layers while wraps can have convenient Velcro closures.

Inflatable garments is another category of compression-wear. Users inflate these devices to a specific amount of pressure. They’re generally used by athletes to reduce muscle soreness and improve blood circulation to speed recovery.


Other Treatments for Varicose Veins

While compression garments usually help reduce discomfort caused by varicose veins, they cannot fix varicose veins or improve their physical appearance.

However, today there are many varicose vein treatments that will permanently eliminate existing varicose and spider veins.

Treatments for the elimination of varicose veins include:


Is Compression Therapy for You?

There are some medical conditions that make it unsafe to use compression therapy. One of these conditions is peripheral artery disease (PAD). Here, compression therapy would be harmful since the blood vessels in the legs would narrow and reduce blood flow.

It’s always recommended that you consult your doctor first before you start compression therapy.

Here’s more about vein conditions and ways to improve your vein health.

For a free varicose vein screening, contact us at The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center.

6 Ways to Practice Self-Care

6 Ways to Practice Self-Care

Self-care simply refers to taking care of ourselves so we can be the best version of ourselves. Self-care should be part of everyone’s life. We all deserve it.

The American Psychological Association even encourages mental health professionals to practice self-care to not only to help themselves but so they can better help their patients.


Benefits of Self-care

Self-care involves every aspect of your life. It can range from the choices you make about foods to allowing yourself to express your emotions. All self-care choices involve improving your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Taking care of your body is critical to any self-care plan. However, mental and emotional self-care also play a tremendous role in your physical health.

Self-care will help to reduce your anxiety, stress, depression, and frustration and even help you stay healthy. It will increase your happiness, energy, and performance—and enable you to better help others. It’s particularly important in times of stress when people tend to neglect their own needs.

Self-care is not the same for everyone and it should never feel like a burden. Start by making small changes to things you want to improve. The positive effects will inspire you to make additional changes.

Here are 6 ways to show your body self-care.


Move Your Body

The human body was meant to move, and people usually feel better once they get moving. And if there aren’t physical limitations, the more your body moves, the more it will want to move the next day.

There is a connection between body movement and:

  • Improved mental health
  • Better mood
  • Reduced depression

Try to focus on movement—not exercise. Exercise can sound like a chore—and may lead to increased stress since you now have one more “have to do” on your list.


Closeup of a man enjoying the fresh air during a walk in the park


Simple movements like straightening up your living room, taking a walk, or watering plants aren’t part of an exercise routine, but they get your body moving and boost circulation.

If you’re not used to moving, start by trying to move for just 10 minutes at a time. This can mean walking your dog or even dancing alone in your living room.

Once you get used to moving, you may feel excited to start a new exercise routine.

Here’s how body movement promotes healthy veins.


Self-care Includes Eating Well

A healthy diet nourishes the body, provides energy, and helps prevent disease.

Unfortunately, many people equate eating well with depriving themselves of the foods they love. You may be more successful in improving your eating habits if you think about adding foods to your diet that will nourish your body and support good health.


A plate with grilled salmon, lemon, and green beans


A diet full of anti-inflammatory foods such as freshly grilled salmon and leafy green salads is not only delicious but will help you stay healthy and feel great.

Fresh blueberries and raspberries are naturally sweet and help curb cravings for unhealthy and inflammatory processed sugary foods.

Try eating superfoods that fight inflammation and you will find that your body soon craves foods these delicious foods that are actually good for you.

And stay hydrated to boost energy levels and support good mental performance.


Get Enough Rest and Sleep

Making time for adequate rest and sleep are acts of self-care. Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Sleep plays a key role in keeping your body and mind healthy. During sleep, your body eliminates toxins and builds your immune system.

Staying up late one night may not be harmful, but extended periods of not enough sleep can have a serious effect on your health.

Too little sleep has been associated with many health problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Poor immunity

Sleep is important to your mental health as well. Too little sleep can make it difficult to:

  • Focus
  • Learn
  • React quickly
  • Properly process emotional reactions
  • Feel happy

Here’s more information about the effects of sleep on your health.


Listen to Your Body

Your body has many ways to signal that it’s tired, not feeling well, or that something is simply off.

During a busy day, it’s easy to brush aside these signals and ignore what your body’s telling you—but listening to your body is an important part of self-care.


A man in a suit sleeping in a commuter train


If you fall asleep on the train during your daily commute, your body’s probably saying you’re not getting enough sleep.

Or if you’re legs painfully ache at the end of a day of lots of standing, you may have varicose veins.

Do you get headaches while reading? Perhaps you need glasses.

Here’s more about how to listen to your body to improve your health.


Support Your Own Emotional and Mental Health

Emotional self-care is all about doing things you like to do and that help you relax. It has a great impact on your physical health.


A smiling couple petting their dog and relaxing on a couch


Emotional self-care involves:

  • Processing your feelings in a healthy way
  • Showing yourself compassion
  • Seeking support from and spend quality time with friends and family
  • Seeking a mental health professional when things get overwhelming
  • Doing something every day that you enjoy
  • Asking for help if you need it


Social self-care is all about having healthy relationships in your life.

It includes:

  • Setting boundaries that are comfortable for you
  • Keeping people in your life who support you
  • Putting your needs first—it’s okay to say “no”


Mental self-care involves challenging yourself intellectually and keeping your brain active.

You can:

  • Read a book
  • Work on a hobby or puzzle
  • Keep a journal


Keep Up with Check-ups

It can be tempting to skip medical checkups when you’re feeling okay or even when you’re not. But this is never a good idea.

During a check-up, your doctor might detect an illness that needs immediate treatment or advise you on important preventative steps to take against getting sick.

During check-ups you can also:

  • Ask questions you have about your health
  • Get caught up on vaccinations
  • Learn about health screenings that are due

At NJVVC, we specialize in preventing and treating vein and vascular disease. Contact us today for a free vascular screening.

Warning Signs and Diagnosing Varicose Vein Disease

Warning Signs and Diagnosing Varicose Vein Disease

Learn the warning signs and why a proper diagnosis of varicose vein disease is so important.

Do you get cramps in your legs overnight or have restless legs? Are your legs often itchy for no apparent reason? The cause of your discomfort may have been misdiagnosed as neuropathy or another cause when the actual cause is varicose veins.

Some other medical conditions may present many of the same symptoms. A vein specialist has the experience and technology required for an accurate diagnosis.

The only way to accurately diagnose varicose vein disease is with a reflux ultrasound examination by an experienced vein specialist. When it comes to your vein health, a proper diagnosis is essential so that the issue isn’t over-treated or under-treated.


A Reassuring Word About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are rarely a serious medical condition. In fact, millions of Americans have varicose veins. The Cleveland Clinic reports that 1 in every 3 adults has varicose veins. For many, they are purely an aesthetic problem. Other times, varicose veins cause annoying symptoms that will relieved by, but don’t require immediate medical attention.

Still, for some, varicose veins can cause chronic venous insufficiency. This is a dangerous medical condition related to blood circulation. The good news is a vein specialist can correctly diagnose and treat it.


More About Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is not an uncommon problem for people who have varicose veins. Cleveland Clinic also reports that 1 in every 50 adults with varicose veins eventually develops chronic venous insufficiency.

Damaged veins cause chronic vein insufficiency. Leg veins keep blood flowing back to your heart. But when chronic venous insufficiency occurs, blood flows improperly or not at all.

Learn the warning signs and seek a vein specialist for a proper diagnosis of  varicose veins and venous insufficiency.


Blood flow in normal leg veins vs blood flow in varicose veins


With chronic venous insufficiency, veins can no longer open and close to properly regulate blood flow; blood pools in the veins instead of flowing toward the heart. Blood may even flow backwards.

The pooling blood creates extra pressure on the vein. The result can be uncomfortable swelling, ulcers, insufficient blood flow, and possible life-threatening blood clots.

This condition is most common in people over the age 50, with increasing risk as you further age.

Read more about chronic vein insufficiency.


Medical Conditions That Can Mimic Varicose Veins

There are other medical conditions that present many of the same symptoms of varicose veins.

They include:

  • Tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons)
  • Injuries to ligaments
  • Osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis)
  • Sciatica (caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve)
  • Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves—often in the feet)
  • Arterial insufficiency (a slowing of blood in arteries)

If you have any of these conditions, it’s critical that you receive a proper diagnosis to ensure that you get the medical attention that you need.


When to Speak to a Doctor


An older woman in a chair rubbing her painful leg.


While varicose veins aren’t usually cause for concern, speak to a doctor if:

  • The veins are painful or make you feel uncomfortable
  • Leg and vein pain is interfering with your sleep
  • The skin near the veins is irritated or annoying

Learn more about when to see a doctor for leg pain.


Get an Accurate Diagnosis with a Reflux Ultrasound Examination

To properly diagnose your varicose vein condition, and even determine if you have varicose veins, it’s best to consult a vein specialist.

First, there will be a physical examination of your legs, looking for swelling or other developments. The doctor will ask questions about your leg pain experience.


A close-up of legs with varicose veins that require treatment.


Afterwards you should have a reflux venous ultrasound examination. It is important that a qualified physician and ultrasound technologist perform this exam.

With this imaging technology, the doctor can definitively determine if the veins in the legs are functioning properly. It will also identify where some veins may be having problems or need treatment.

This test is completely non-invasive and painless.

See what our vein specialist, Dr. Stuart Miller, has to say about the importance of an accurate reflux ultrasound examination.



At NJVVC, our vein doctor, Dr. Stuart Miller, specializes in properly performing and analyzing the results of a reflux ultrasound examination. It is imperative to administer and analyze this test properly to ensure accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment. False negatives or false positives in this exam will lead to a vein condition being over-treated or under-treated—and can even lead to a wrong diagnosis altogether.


Common Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Leg Aches

Legs ache at the end of the day or after long periods of standing and/or sitting.


Physical Appearance of Veins

You see twisted rope-like bulges under the skin. They can look blueish or red. Sometimes you can’t see veins that are far below the skin’s surface.


Leg and/or Foot Swelling or Heaviness

Legs feel unusually heavy and make running or even walking uncomfortable or painful.

You often see swelling of feet and ankles.


Burning, Throbbing, Aching


You feel an itching sensation around the veins, or on your legs before veins are even visible.


Restless Legs or Leg Cramps at Night

Red Spots on Lower Legs/Shiny Legs

Red spots can be a sign of a burst vein.


Hyperpigmentation Around Ankles

Commonly seen with long-existing varicose veins.


Avoid These Complications of Varicose Veins with Proper Diagnosis

Blood Clots

Blood clots in veins can lead to serious swelling of the vein (thrombophlebitis) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT can lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.



A varicose vein near the surface of the skin may bleed if you bump your leg. This bleeding can be difficult to stop. Elevate your leg and apply pressure; get immediate medical care if you cannot stop the bleeding.



A leg ulcer or wound will need to be cleaned regularly and bandaged properly.


Contact us at the New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center (NJVVC) for non-invasive vascular imaging studies, second opinions of imaging studies, and minimally invasive endovascular services.

Can Changes in Hormone Levels Cause Varicose Veins?

Can Changes in Hormone Levels Cause Varicose Veins?

Fluctuating hormone levels caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal treatments, and aging, can play havoc with vein health.

Hormonal imbalances of progesterone and estrogen can lead to many physical problems, including the development or worsening of varicose veins.

Can changes in hormone levels cause varicose veins? You bet!


Estrogen’s Role in Vein Health

It is important that the estrogen and progesterone hormonal levels maintain a healthy balance.

Elevated levels of estrogen, especially during pregnancy, can encourage the development of varicose veins. Estrogen causes blood vessels to widen and increase blood flow. However, it also makes blood vessels weaker.

The heightened levels of estrogen increase the risk of blood clots and inflammation and weaken vein walls. Varicose veins also become more visible.


Progesterone’s Role in Vein Health

Progesterone can actually lessen some unwanted vein symptoms caused by increased estrogen. It relaxes blood vessels, smooth muscles and increases collagen production. Collagen strengthens vein walls. In fact, too little collagen has been associated with the development of both varicose and spider veins.

However, higher levels of progesterone can hurt the valves in the veins that are needed to control blood flow in the veins. If veins don’t function properly, blood will flow both ways, and will pool around the poorly functioning valve.

Higher progesterone levels can also dilate smaller veins, making them more visible to the naked eye.

Leg veins are more sensitive to progesterone than veins in other parts of the body. When hormone levels fluctuate, vein health is at risk.

Dr. Stuart Miller of The New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center (NJVVC) explains why imbalanced levels of progesterone are so dangerous to veins.


Progesterone Levels and Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

When a woman is pregnant, her hormones fluctuate. The potential dangers are compounded by changes to the woman’s vascular system and pressure from the expanding uterus. Not only does the woman gain weight, but blood volume in the veins increases. Progesterone and estrogen hormone levels both increase and fluctuate.

Progesterone levels begin to rise in the 9th week of pregnancy and continue to slowly rise until week 32. After the 12th week, the placenta makes progesterone.


A drawing of the structural formula of progesterone


It’s now believed that not only estrogen, but progesterone also plays a major role in the formation of varicose veins during pregnancy.

As reported by the Vein Clinics of Cleveland, a 2009 Croatian study showed that women who had higher levels of progesterone during pregnancy also had a higher incidence of varicose vein development. This caused the researcher to conclude that progesterone during pregnancy also contributes to varicose veins.

Progesterone levels in pregnancy also affect water retention and weight gain. Pressure on the veins increases and further contributes to pregnancy vein issues.

Progesterone relaxes smooth muscles, allowing for increased blood flow and can usually reduce pressure on veins. However, as reported by the National Institute of Health, during pregnancy this increased level of progesterone that inhibits smooth muscle contraction, can “[result] in disorders of the vein shrinkage, affecting the increase of their capacity and valvular insufficiency, and valvular edges are not in contact with each other due to the vasodilatation.”

After childbirth, many women see their varicose veins improve and disappear— although this is not always the case.

You can expect vein damage to increase with each subsequent pregnancy.

Here’s more about veins and pregnancy.


Birth Control Pills/Supplements


A colorful collection of birth control packets


Some women are directed by their doctors to take birth control pills or supplements, containing progestin—a synthetic form of progesterone—to ease the effects of menopause. These women have an increased chance of developing varicose and/or spider veins. Progestin, like its natural counterpart, progesterone, will make the vein walls dilate and become more susceptible to damage.

It’s important that women talk to their doctors about the potential risks and benefits of these pills and/or supplements.


Aging and Menopause


A woman looks at the veins on her legs


Both progesterone and estrogen levels fluctuate as you age, increasing a woman’s possibility of developing varicose veins. Read more about why menopause increases your risk of varicose veins.

As women approach menopause, their hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone drop and body weight increases. This can cause vein damage. Women often first notice varicose veins at this time. Or women who already have varicose veins may notice more bothersome symptoms or that the veins are becoming more visible.

Risk Factors that make you prone to developing varicose veins include:

  • Age
  • Being female— Women are more prone to developing varicose veins because they often have weaker vein walls and valves than men do
  • Pregnancy—effects of fluctuating hormones
  • Family history
  • Being overweight
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time


Ways You Can Help Your Varicose Veins

If you’re suffering with varicose veins caused by fluctuating hormones or other causes, there are things you can do to help.


A senior woman in an exercise class


They are:

  • Exercise regularly and walk more to help blood circulation
  • Avoid sitting or standing for a long time
  • Elevate your legs to reduce swelling and help blood reach the heart
  • Wear compression socks to keep pressure on your lower legs
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Avoid hot tubs
  • Stay cool in the shade outdoors or in air conditioning


Make these dietary changes:

  • Take Vitamin C to help veins get stronger
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like blueberries or whole grains
  • Eat fiber-rich foods
  • Choose low-sodium food selections
  • Stay hydrated


Learn more about spider veins and reticular veins.

At NJVVC, we offer several effective and painless options to treat varicose veins. Contact us for a vein consultation.

Poor Circulation in the Legs and Feet

Poor Circulation in the Legs and Feet

Poor circulation can affect many areas of your body, including your legs, feet, and toes.

There are many reasons for poor blood circulation in the legs and feet, and usually several things you can do to improve your circulation.

It’s important to see a medical specialist for diagnosis, and then follow the prescribed treatment for your specific condition. There are different diagnostic tests doctors can perform to get an accurate diagnosis. But sometimes a doctor still can’t pinpoint the cause—even after tests are done.


Symptoms of Poor Circulation in the Legs and Feet

Some symptoms of poor circulation in the legs and feet are:

  • Numbness
  • Throbbing, tingling, or pain in limbs
  • Cold feet
  • Muscle cramps
  • Discolored feet that sometimes turn blue, white, purple, or red


A heel has dry, cracked skin


  • Dry or cracked skin on feet or legs
  • Hair loss on legs or feet
  • Slow wound healing on feet

When a person has poor circulation, cells don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients delivered, and waste remains in cells. Cells function poorly; blood vessels narrow, harden, or even close.

People with poor circulation are commonly:

  • Over 40-years-old
  • Overweight
  • Diabetic
  • Smokers
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle and don’t exercise


Some Causes of Poor Circulation



Diabetes is a condition that results in too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Doctors can easily diagnose diabetes by performing blood tests.

Plaque accumulates in the blood vessels when high blood sugar continues for extended periods of time. Poor blood circulation affects the legs and feet and other parts of the body.

Without treatment, this could lead to serious health problems, including foot ulcers—which can result in amputation if they can’t heal properly.

People with diabetes need to have their feet checked regularly to make sure they’re not developing signs of poor circulation or neuropathy.




A woman has a hand up as she refuses a cigarette


Cigarette smoke causes damage to your arteries. Plaque accumulates over time and causes circulation problems.

It’s simple. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start!


Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, unattractive veins that appear twisted or gnarled.

These unsightly veins develop when damaged blood vessels cause extra pressure to be put on the veins. Then the newly formed varicose veins further contribute to poor circulation by allowing blood to flow backwards, instead of up toward the heart. Read more here about chronic vein insufficiency.

Leg symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Aching or heaviness
  • Itchiness
  • A burning sensation


A woman show’s her leg that has a vein condition


Some common risk factors for varicose veins include:

  • Being female
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Standing for lengthy periods of time every day
  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition

A vein specialist uses out-patient procedures to treat varicose veins. Changing your lifestyle, such as losing weight and wearing compression socks will help as well. However, damaged veins need medical correction.

Here’s how exercising will help keep your veins healthy.


Atherosclerosis and Peripheral Artery Disease

Atherosclerosis is a condition of dangerous plaque build-up that often affects arteries of the legs and arms, as well as the heart and brain.


An infographic showing peripheral artery disease (PAD)


Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) occurs when plaque damages the blood vessels that bring blood to the legs and feet.

PAD is the most common cause of poor circulation in the legs.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can contribute to the development of PAD. When a person has PAD, they are also most likely at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

One test used to diagnosis PAD is the ankle-brachial index. During this test, your doctor compares the blood pressure in your arm to the blood pressure in your ankle.

Here are things you can do to stop PAD from progressing:

  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet


High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

When you have high blood pressure, blood is pushing against your blood vessels with unusually powerful force. This can weaken your blood vessels and ultimately interfere with good blood circulation.

When a person has high cholesterol, cholesterol inevitably deposits on artery walls.


Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease affects blood circulation when a person is cold or stressed. It usually affects blood flowing to toes and fingers, although it can affect other areas of the body.

Symptoms include:

  • Toes or fingers turning white
  • Extremely cold extremities
  • Burning, tingling, pain, or numbness

These symptoms can last for as little as one minute or continue for several hours.

Medication and lifestyle changes are used to treat Raynaud’s disease.

Risk factors for Raynaud’s disease include:

  • Having a job that causes vibrations to the body
  • Being over sixty and have another vascular disease
  • Taking cyclosporine or some beta-blockers
  • Having fibromyalgia or a history of hepatitis B or C


What You Can Do to Improve Blood Circulation in Your Legs

  • Follow medical treatments for underlying conditions
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Avoid sitting for lengthy periods of time—take frequent breaks
  • Do leg stretches
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Massage feet
  • Keep feet warm when outside in cold weather
  • Avoid stress – practice relaxation techniques
  • Wear compression socks
  • Eat a healthy diet


When to Contact a Doctor Immediately or call 911


An infographic displaying danger of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). 


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can be a life-threatening event. It’s caused when a blood clot in the leg interferes with circulation. There is always a chance that the clot will travel and cut off blood flow to the lungs.

DVT often occurs if you do not move for a long time—such as you are recuperating from an operation in bed or sitting in a plane or car for a long time. Read about traveler’s thrombosis.

Signs of DVT include:

  • Sudden pain (that begins in the calf) or swelling in the leg
  • Skin feels warmer than usual to the touch
  • Discolored skin
  • There’s numbness or “pins and needles” in your leg

If the clot has broken away, you may feel chest pain, sweat, and have difficulty breathing. More about when to see a doctor.

If you are concerned about your leg circulation or have varicose veins, contact us at NJVVC for diagnosis and treatment.

Diet and Varicose Veins – What’s the Connection?

Diet and Varicose Veins – What’s the Connection?

There’s an old saying, “You are what you eat.” This is particularly true for vein health. If you have been wondering about diet and varicose veins, you’ll be interested to learn what’s the connection.

While a great diet can’t remove varicose veins, it can lessen symptoms and support better vein health in the future. It can even slow the development of varicose veins.


Diet Affects Varicose Vein Health

It may not surprise you to learn there’s a connection between diet and varicose vein health. But did you know, this connection is quite strong?

The healthier your diet choices are, the healthier your veins will be.

And, adjusting your diet for greater vein health will also have a positive effect on your heart health, blood pressure, and more!

A healthful vein-supporting diet will:

  • Improve blood circulation
  • Support blood vessels
  • Keep vein pressure to a healthy minimum

If you already have varicose veins, a good diet can lessen the severity of symptoms and possibly keep more varicose veins from developing.


How to Adjust Your Diet for Varicose Vein Health


A woman’s hand holding a saltshaker


What to Avoid

You should avoid foods that are highly processed and contain lots of salt.

Salty foods and many highly processed foods cause the body to increase its volume of fluids. This places more pressure on varicose veins and impedes blood circulation.

Not getting enough fiber in your diet, causes constipation in your digestive system—a common contributor to the development of varicose veins.

Show your veins you love them by avoiding:

  • Sugar—contributes to weight gain
  • Processed meats—causes water retention
  • Salt—adds pressure to veins
  • Dairy—can cause constipation
  • Fried foods—clogs arteries and reduces blood flow

Here’s how drinking alcohol affects vein health.


What to Include in Your Diet

One key to having healthy veins is to make sure your diet supports good blood circulation.

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients goes a long way to support vein health.

In dealing with diet and varicose veins, the good news is that vein-friendly foods are common and easy to find in your local grocery store.


Fruits and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are great for your body and support good vein health.

Many fruits are chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They also contain many nutrients that support vein health as well and keep blood vessels from leaking.


A pile of fresh oranges with some cut in half


Citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons, are bursting with vitamin C and help reduce swelling in varicose veins. Reduced swelling means much less pain in your legs after a long day of standing or sitting in one place.

Fruits also are high in fiber and reduce constipation.

Some fruits and vegetables to include in your diet for improved vein health are:

  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Berries
  • Black Olives
  • Ginger


Colorful beetroots on a white background



Foods with fiber help prevent constipation. Constipation promotes varicose vein development since it increases pressure on veins.

Fiber-rich foods also help keep cholesterol levels low and blood pressure at a healthy level.



Chopping onions may make your eyes tear, but they contain many nutrients that will make your body happy.

Onions contain Vitamin B6, zinc, fiber, and many nutrients that help your blood circulation.

Enjoy them in green salads and other healthful dishes.


Copper is an essential nutrient that promotes circulation and supports the body’s immune system.

If you don’t get enough copper, veins become less elastic. This makes the veins more likely to swell and gradually weaken.

There are many significant dietary sources of copper, including:

  • Beef liver
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus



Bioflavonoids are anti-inflammatories that do great things for your body and veins. They help treat osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Along with vein health, they also support blood circulation and heart health.

They will not only reduce vein swelling but help to strengthen vein walls.

Rutin is a naturally occurring bioflavonoid that protects blood vessels and has anti-inflammatory properties to protect against blood clots.

It’s found in apples and asparagus and many other fruits and vegetables.

Some additional sources of bioflavonoids include:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Kidney beans


A bowl of cooked kidney beans with parsley and chopped scallions on top


Here’s more information on top foods for improved circulation and vein health.

You may also be interested in these additional diet tips for keeping veins healthy.


Additional Steps to Take for Vein Health


Drink Plenty of Water

Good hydration will help keep your circulatory system runny smoothly. It helps keep blood volume constant, flushes out waste from the system, and makes varicose veins feel better.

Water and fiber together work to keep bloating to a minimum and prevent constipation.


Physical Activity

A good tip for improved circulatory health and healthy veins is to have daily physical activity. This keeps the blood in your veins moving and helps keep veins healthy.

Of course, you never want to overdo it. Your doctor can recommend a good exercise program for you. Even walking every day will provide great benefits for your veins.


Do You Have Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are those thick raised veins that people often see on their legs and feet. They can cause many physical symptoms, including pain, itchiness, and swelling.

Read more about varicose veins here.

If you have varicose veins, a screening can tell you how these veins are affecting your overall health. You can also learn about pain-free, proven treatments to eliminate your varicose veins.

Contact us at NJVVC for a free varicose vein screening.

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