Tips for Flying When You Have Varicose Veins

Tips for Flying When You Have Varicose Veins

Whether you’re flying for business or taking a much-deserved vacation, the physical and cosmetic effects of varicose veins can certainly dampen your enthusiasm for the trip.

Michael F. Gioscia, MD is a well-known vein specialist who leads our team at the Vein Institute of Westchester in White Plains, New York.

He offers an expert’s opinion on how to avoid the health complications linked to varicose veins and flying and explains why your best option may be eliminating those problematic veins before you board the plane.

How does flying affect varicose veins?

Although their cosmetic effects generally receive more negative attention, there are physical symptoms associated with varicose veins that are exacerbated by flying.

These symptoms include swelling, a sense of heaviness or fatigue, as well as pain in your legs that can worsen significantly when you fly. This is due to sluggish circulation caused by prolonged sitting during a flight, which causes blood to pool in your feet and lower legs.

This pooling causes fluids in your veins to leak into surrounding soft tissue and results in edema (swelling). Dr. Gioscia explains that varicose veins are especially susceptible to these effects since vein walls and flap-like valves within the veins are already weak and leaky.

Your risk of developing a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) also increases when you fly. Symptoms of DVT include swelling, warmth, redness, and pain that’s greater in one leg than the other.

What can I do to prevent varicose vein symptoms when I fly?

You can’t completely prevent the symptoms caused by increased pressure in your leg veins when you fly.

But Dr. Gioscia notes that you can often decrease the discomfort, leg swelling, and other symptoms during your trip by:

Taking frequent breaks as appropriate to get up from your seat and walk down the aisle can also help reduce the circulatory effects of prolonged sitting.

If you’re stuck in your seat for the duration, periodically flex your feet at the ankles by bringing your toes upward toward your shin and then pointing your toes sharply downward. Hold each position for about 10 seconds and repeat several times. 

This action engages your calf and thigh muscles, which your leg veins rely on to help push blood upward against gravity.

Of course, a permanent solution for avoiding worsening symptoms of varicose veins when flying is to eliminate them with a minimally invasive in-office treatment.

How do you treat varicose veins?

Rather than taking a one-fix-for-all approach to varicose vein treatment, Dr. Gioscia develops a personalized treatment strategy that’s based on the number and type of varicose veins you have as well as their physical and cosmetic effects.

He is experienced in all vein treatments and may suggest a combination of advanced minimally invasive therapies to achieve the best cosmetic results.

Your plan may include:

Each of these in-office treatments effectively seals the damaged vein(s). This causes your body to reroute blood flow to a healthy vein and absorb the varicose vein tissue.

Dr. Gioscia is meticulous about varicose and spider vein treatment and offers solutions based on their effectiveness as well as your safety, comfort, and satisfaction.

If you’d like to be free of the cosmetic and physical effects of varicose veins just in time for the leg-baring fashions of summer, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Gioscia at the Vein Institute of Westchester today.

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