Since travel can be uncomfortable for anyone with varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency or other circulatory issues, the doctors at our vein clinic are posting some expert tips for traveling with vein disease. If you’re planning a trip to (or from) our fair city, follow this advice to stay healthy and pain free.
Why Take Special Care When Traveling with Varicose Veins?If you have vein disease or symptoms (like ankle swelling, bulging veins, leg pain, restless legs, or skin changes) that indicate possible circulatory problems, you’re at risk for dangerous blood clots while traveling, unless you take precautions. These factors increase your blood clot risk further:
- Age (older individuals are more likely to have vein problems)
- Excess weight
- Family (or personal) history of vein disease or blood clots
- Recent surgical procedure (always get your surgeon’s permission before you fly and take precautions s/he recommends)
- Traveling while pregnant (check with your gynecologist before you go)
- History of taking birth control
- Serious chronic health problem(s), like diabetes or high blood pressure
Traveling with Vein Disease? Here’s How to Stay HealthyAir travel is the most commonly discussed risk for those with vein problems, but driving (road trips) and train travel also require precautions. Any time you’re seated in a small space for hours, without enough legroom (as is usually the case during trips), you should be cautious. Even standing in lines or doing lots of extra walking, around an unfamiliar city, can be a hazard–if you don’t “take steps” to prevent leg pain or blood clots. Follow these 6 tips to avoid blood clots while traveling:
- Talk: Discuss your travel plans with your physician or surgeon, if you’re under medical care or have concerns. S/he may recommend against traveling.
- Dress comfy: Loose clothing is always better than overly tight clothing, when circulation is a concern—but during travel it’s especially important. Especially avoid tight waistbands or thighs. Don’t wear anything tight at the ankle and avoid tight shoes.
- Walk: Getting up for a few minutes every hour and walking around is ideal, if you’re on a plane or train. If driving, make rest stops often, for a short walk. Of course, it’s not always safe to do so, but make a mental note or set a phone reminder to walk when you can.
- Exercise: Do heel lifts while seated to help pump blood up through your calves. Move your foot and ankle, from flexed to pointed and back, as much as possible to help keep proper circulation flowing to your heart/lungs.
- Compression stockings: Wear compression hose to encourage blood flow from the legs back to the heart.
- Hydrate: It takes more effort when traveling, but try to avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee or alcohol. Drink lots of water, even though it might mean searching for restrooms more often.