By Smarty — One of many Varicose Veins blogs on SmartLivingNetwork.com
Our aging bodies sure do go through a lot of changes: our skin wrinkles, we lose much of our flexibility, our bones thin, and we can't see or hear as well. But there's one change you may be able to avoid by keeping yourself fit: the development of varicose veins.
The circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood and other dissolved nutrients to all the cells of your body. It does this with the help of a pump (the heart), a couple of aerators (the lungs), and a seemingly endless series of tubes (veins, arteries and capillaries) which transport blood around the body. Your heart, arteries, and lungs respond when more or less oxygen is needed by changing respiration rate, pulse, and muscle tone within the arteries. But your veins have a fairly difficult job as well, especially those within your legs. They must make sure blood makes it back to the heart with very little help from muscle tone; veins are much less muscular than arteries. Instead they make sure blood keeps moving forward with their one-way valves. They rely on the squeezing of muscles in order to propel blood though them.
The veins in your legs are particularly prone to becoming varicose because of how hard they must work against gravity. Over time, the valves of veins can become weak, allowing small amounts of blood to flow backwards. Blood which pools in the legs can easily stretch out veins weakened by age and poor nutrition, causing them to become distended with blood. This distension is what results in a varicose vein.
Those who are overweight run a greater risk of developing varicose veins for three reasons:
To prevent the formation of varicose veins it's important to exercise regularly and eat a high-fiber, moderate-salt diet. Exercises that involve the legs (like walking, biking, and swimming) are especially good for strengthening leg veins. Try counting your calories and keeping track of your salt intake. It's amazing how easy it is to go past the recommended 2000 calories a day. Give your hard-working leg veins all the help you can by keeping off excess weight with healthy diet and regular exercise.
Photo Credit: smcgee
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