Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning a vacation! It’s always good to travel and relax. But while we’re enjoying our time off, there’s one thing we often neglect: our vein health. We’re prone to long periods of time spent sitting or standing during travel. This can increase our risk of deep vein thrombosis. The best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Vein & Vascular Center have a few tips for keeping your legs happy and healthy so that you can enjoy your vacation to its fullest!
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is more commonly known as a blood clot in a deep vein. Our risk of developing these increases when we spend a lot of time not moving our legs, generally through sitting or standing for an extended period of time. Symptoms can include pain and tenderness, swelling, increased warmth or redness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Some cases of deep vein thrombosis can also move away from the vein and into the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.
If you notice any blood clot symptoms while traveling, take them seriously. Luckily, there are a few, easy things you can do to lower your risk of developing them. Keep in mind that in rare cases, deep vein thrombosis can also form in untreated varicose veins, so if you’re currently having issues with your vein health, take extra care to follow the tips below.
Take a Break to Move Around
Since being stationary raises your risk of blood clots, move around more to help keep your blood flowing properly. If you spend a lot of time on a plane, bus, or train, take a few moments every hour to get up for a short walk. If you’re driving, take a few more rest stops than you originally intended. We know it’s tempting to minimize your stops to get to your destination as soon as possible, but taking time to stretch your legs will be worth the extra time spent! If you’re unable to take breaks, try some ankle exercises instead. Every hour, press the balls of your feet into the floor 10 times, as though you were pressing down on the gas pedal in your car.
We know that it can be difficult to get out of standing for long periods of time — like when waiting in long lines at theme parks — but you can still stretch your legs! Lift your heels off the ground a little bit, then put them back down. Repeating this 10 times an hour will suffice to help give your circulation the extra boost it needs.
Pack a Pair of Compression Stockings
Compression stockings can offer plenty of much-needed support to tired veins. They apply pressure gradually throughout the leg, allowing your veins to more easily circulate blood upwards. This can relieve any pressure or swelling that may occur from a long day on your feet. Compression levels vary, so you may want to talk to a vein specialist to ensure you pack the best stockings for your veins.
Kick Your Feet up and Relax
When you think of a relaxing vacation, you may think of lying on a soft couch with your feet up. Turns out, this position is not only comfortable, it has great benefits for your vein health! Elevating your feet helps reduce swelling and drain any blood pooling in your veins. If you have time after a day of adventuring, spend 20 minutes with your feet raised higher than your heart to give your legs a break. You can also sleep with a pillow under your feet for some extra comfort. Otherwise, enjoy a calming afternoon or evening with your feet kicked up while you’re enjoying a cool glass of water and watching TV.
Keep Drinking Water
It’s easy to become dehydrated while traveling. You may spend a lot of time in the summer heat, checking out the local bar scene, or you might treat yourself to a few extra sodas. While there’s nothing wrong with an occasional soda or alcoholic beverage, too much can dehydrate you. Keeping your body hydrated is important for your vein health. Keep a bottle of water near you to sip on whenever you start to feel hot or thirsty. Your whole body will thank you for it.
Vacations can be filled with great memories, so don’t let your vein health bring you down. Just give your legs a little bit of care when you travel! And if you currently have concerns about your overall vein health, why not visit a specialist? Venous insufficiency can be painful, and visible veins can be embarrassing. There’s no reason to deal with the strain of vein problems during a relaxing vacation, especially because most treatments are either noninvasive or minimally invasive and require little to no downtime. Even our minimally invasive endovenous laser treatment, which closes varicose veins by applying heat to the vein through a small catheter, is short enough to be completed within a lunch break. In addition, insurance carriers will generally cover the cost of treatment when done by a medical professional.
If you’re concerned your venous health will interrupt your summer plans or you experience ongoing leg pain after some traveling, visit the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center. Our staff is dedicated to treating you as a person — not a number. We’ll check the current state of your vein health, create a treatment plan that will be best for you, and make sure that you understand your treatment every step of the way. You can schedule a consultation by calling 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547.