Varicose veins affect three in 10 people at some stage of their lifetime.
People of all ages are affected but the cause is often unknown. However, the tendency to develop varicose veins increases with age and appears to run in families.
It is more common in women, partly due to the pressures on legs during pregnancy. Those on their feet for long periods, e.g. shop workers, will have an increased risk of developing varicose veins, as will those with sedentary jobs.
In a healthy leg vein, blood flows smoothly upward towards the heart and backflow is prevented by a series of valves. However, veins can lose their elasticity and start to bulge, damaging the valves and allowing blood to pool in the lower leg. The veins are then under increased pressure and swell in an unsightly manner.
Venaforce is derived from a natural source that is most commonly seen during the autumn in school playgrounds - the conker. Venaforce Horse Chestnut is a traditional herbal medicinal product for the relief of symptoms associated with varicose veins, such as tired, heavy legs, pain, cramps and swelling.
Clinical trials show that horse chestnut seed extracts can clearly improve the symptoms of varicose veins, particularly in the amount of leg pain and swelling a sufferer experiences, but also in other bothersome symptoms such as itching. Horse Chestnut seed contains several important therapeutic constituents, including aescin, which has a toning effect on the venous wall, working against the leakage of fluids into the surrounding tissues. Aescin also inhibits the enzymes that break down the vein wall, protecting the vein from further damage.
A.Vogel’s nutritional therapist, Ali Cullen, has some top tips for varicose vein sufferers: “It’s essential to avoid standing up or sitting in the same position for long periods - make sure that you move and lift your feet regularly. Flexing the calf muscle powers blood back up the leg to the heart.
“Avoid red hot baths because this causes blood vessels to dilate, potentially making the condition worse. Instead give your legs a cold shower to exercise the blood vessels.
“If you’re sitting for long periods of time, flex your feet (pulling your toes back up away from the floor) to exercise the calf muscle. This helps to get the blood back up the leg and take the pressure off the veins. Veins need daily movement, whether it’s walking, swimming, cycling, or even something gentler such as yoga. When possible, lie with your feet elevated above the level of the heart (e.g. on a pillow) for 20 minutes daily.”
The A.Vogel range also includes Venagel Horse Chestnut Gel, which helps tired and heavy legs by providing cooling relief.
A.Vogel Venagel costs £9.65 for 100ml and is available from health stores and selected pharmacies.