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Maintaining healthy legs: Q&A

Allan HoffmanVenous disease is an under-diagnosed and under-treated medical problem affecting over 80 million Americans. Here, Dr. Allan I. Hoffman, Medical Director at The Vein Center at Lowell General Hospital, discusses how you can keep good circulation in your legs:

What factors contribute to varicose veins?

Many factors may raise your risk for varicose veins, including family history, older age, gender, pregnancy, being overweight, and lack of physical movement and exercise. About half of all people who have varicose veins have a family history of them. In addition, standing or sitting for a long time may raise your risk, as staying in one position for a long time may force veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart.

Can I prevent venous disease?

There are a number of ways to keep good circulation in the legs to reduce your risk:

  • Uncross your legs when sitting. Crossing your legs can restrict blood flow.
  • Avoid high heels and wear low heels or flats.
  • Elevate your legs parallel to the ground when reading and watching TV to improve blood flow to the rest of your body.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing. Change your position, shifting from one leg to the other.
  • Get your legs moving! Daily activity such as walking helps generate blood circulation in legs.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to take unnecessary pressure off your leg veins.
  • Limit tub-time and take showers. Take warm (not hot) baths and end by splashing cold water on your legs. Hot baths can dilate blood vessels decreasing the return of blood from the legs to the heart.
  • Don't wear tight clothes around your groin and calves, as this can restrict your circulation.
  • Women should wear sheer support stockings or panty hose, and men should wear support socks. This can reduce leg discomfort by keeping blood from "pooling" in your feet and ankles, thereby reducing swelling.

How can I be seen at The Vein Center?

Have your primary care physician call in your referral, and The Vein Center staff will your referral, and The Vein Center staff will take care of insurance authorizations, consultation, and ultrasound (if needed).

Learn more About Us and The Vein Center Team. Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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