This article first appeared in the September 3rd edition of Mimi Vanderhaven Magazine
By Dr. Sonja Stiller, Center for Advanced Vein Care
In the warmer months, people with blood circulation issues may find their symptoms becoming more apparent. If you suffer from leg pain, swelling, and fatigue, there are a few things you can do to improve your symptoms on your own.
Stay Hydrated – Dehydration can lead to serious health complications for several reasons, including poor circulation. Plasma (which makes up over half of total blood volume) is about 93 percent water. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily, more if you engage in strenuous physical activity.
Keep Moving – When you exercise, you’re doing more than burning fat and building muscle. Aerobic exercise—including brisk walking—increases your heart rate and improves your circulatory system. Building strong calf muscles is especially helpful for improving circulation in your legs.
Reduce Salt Intake – A small amount of salt in your diet is a good thing. Sports drinks like Gatorade can replace electrolytes (salt and potassium) lost during sweating, but they also contain unwanted sugar. Avoid heavily salted foods (including fast food and salty snacks), and seek out foods high in potassium, like dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, yogurt, fish, avocados, mushrooms, and bananas.
Stay Cool – When we become overheated, our blood vessels dilate to help us cool down. But this also causes the valves in our veins to move apart, reducing their effectiveness in moving blood. Stay cool, rest between activities, and elevate your legs when you can.
Seek Treatment – If your symptoms worsen, don’t delay in visiting a vein specialist for an evaluation; it often takes six weeks to three months before treatment begins. Plus, a pair of lightweight compression stockings could improve your circulation right now and help you enjoy summer even more.
Dr. Sonja Stiller is a diplomat of both the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and is the founder of the Center for Advanced Vein Care located at 7200 Mentor Avenue, in Mentor. For an appointment, call 440-710-1140.