Are you concerned about the whole subject of varicose veins and travel – in case you get them? Or have you, perhaps, gotten varicose veins since the last time you were on a plane or taken a long road trip? And now you’re worried about traveling with varicose veins?
You have every reason to be concerned. The truth is that lengthy trips can indeed negatively affect your vein health. Sitting for long periods impairs blood flow in your veins.
In addition, this lack of blood flow can irritate any varicose veins you already have and increase your risk of a blood clot in your legs.
For example, according to a 2018 study, people with varicose veins have a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
However, there are things you can do to cope with annoying varicose vein symptoms and decrease your chance of developing DVT.
So whether you’re ready to hop in the car with the family or are packing your carry-on luggage, here are our timely tips for varicose veins and traveling.
Shorten Your Sit Time
Your vein health’s primary enemy when traveling is sitting, so find ways to decrease the amount of time you’re sitting in your seat.
Being trapped on a plane is no fun for anyone, especially if you have varicose veins. Long flights are particularly difficult and can significantly increase your risk of DVT. They also exacerbate your varicose vein systems. This is especially true if your plane gets held on the tarmac, or turbulence restricts you to your seat the whole time.
What if you have to depend on air travel to take you to your destination? Try breaking up the long flight into shorter flights whenever possible. While on the plane
- rotate your ankles,
- shift around in your seat,
- get up and walk up and down the aisle as much as possible to get your blood moving, and
- wear 20-30 mmHg compression stockings to assist with blood flow.
Even our airlines are concerned with frequent travelers (e.g. those who travel for their job) and long haulers (traveling over four hours) developing blood clots. For this reason, many airlines provide a laminated card with advice on how to keep circulation going through the leg veins. You can find it right next to your issue of Sky Mall!
What about car travel?
Car travel allows more options for limiting the amount of time you have to sit. Breaking a long drive into shorter drives is a good plan.
If you can’t take an overnight or two along the way, get out of the car often, stretch out and take in the view. Even if you can only stop at the roadside truck stop, take a few minutes to get your blood pumping again by walking around as briskly as possible.
Pulling over and getting out of the car will add extra time to your ETA, but your legs and vein health will thank you for it!
Stay Fluid, But Avoid the Booze
You may have heard that it’s essential for all travelers to increase their liquid intake on flights. It’s crucial for people with vein problems!
Air travel tends to dehydrate your system and cause your body to retain its remaining fluids. You want to avoid this as much as possible. That’s because fluid retention and swelling may be fast friends, but they wreak havoc on your vein health. Swelling can
- cause your varicose veins to worsen,
- raise your pain level, and
- increase problems with blood clots.
So start drinking water as soon as you board the plane, and continue chugging water or other healthy beverages throughout the flight.
This hydration game is a win-win! You’ll probably have to get up to use the restroom more often, which means you’ll be forced to get up and move around during the flight!
Show Off Those Socks!
Compression socks and compression stockings come in a variety of styles and sizes. They provide pressure. This assists your veins in fighting gravity and getting pooled blood moving.
They also get your calf muscles pumping harder. This makes it easier for your veins to get blood out of your legs and feet and back up to your heart.
Remember that compression socks come in a range of pressure levels. So it’s best to ask your vein specialist how much pressure is necessary to reduce the risk of swelling and blood clots!
Loosen Up Your Waistline
Okay. We know you want to look and feel your best while traveling, especially if you’re meeting a special someone on the other end. But your health matters, so steer clear of tight jeans or fitted pants. Even yoga pants can restrict your blood flow.
The solution? Find some fun, loose-fitting clothes to wear on the plane or in the car that won’t put any extra pressure on your legs or feet. That way, your blood can flow freely. You could always change clothes in the bathroom in the terminal if you’re flying. Or at a gas station if you’re driving.
Varicose Veins and Travel: Removing the Veins Removes the Problem!
The safest way to take long trips with varicose veins is to have them removed before traveling.
Vein removal treatments are minimally invasive, so you don’t have to go in for a heavy-duty procedure with a long recovery time.
Visit a vein specialist two months prior to your travel plans. Four weeks after they take care of varicose veins, you’ll be ready to travel worry-free. On the other hand, if you want to be more spontaneous with your travels, have varicose veins removed as soon as possible!
Why Are We So Worried About DVT?
DVT is a serious condition that can be deadly. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body. These clots typically form in your thigh or lower leg. If a deep vein blood clot detaches and travels through your bloodstream, it can become lodged in the pulmonary artery. This can cause restricted breathing and possibly even death.
But having varicose veins and traveling doesn’t have to end up so dire. If you follow our tips above, you can dream of your destination and arrive safely!
Make Your Travels Worry-Free!
It’s been a long time since many of us have been able to travel long distances to visit our friends and family – or just get a much-needed break from the every day. You may not have had much control over the pandemic, but you do have control over your varicose veins when you travel.
So don’t let them get in the way of breaking free and enjoying travel again. Contact us for a vein removal treatment consultation today!