Your vascular system is among the most important networks in your body. Through your veins and arteries, blood travels to and from essential organs like your heart and lungs. As we age, our risk for certain vascular conditions increases. Many of these can create blockages that stop blood flow, potentially leading to serious issues like heart attack or stroke.

But while age is a factor we can’t control, there are ways to promote vascular health at every stage of life. Here are some steps seniors can take to care for their veins.

Supporting Vascular Health for Seniors: Four Tips

Get Moving

Aerobic exercise, which raises your heart rate, helps your vascular system function well. When you’re physically active, you keep your heart conditioned and prevent it from having to work harder, which in turn keeps your blood pressure within a healthy range. Simply put, being physically active is one of the best ways to boost vascular health for seniors.

Make it your goal to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, which includes activities like dancing, riding your bike, brisk walks, and yardwork. Move at least a little each day, and avoid long bouts of sitting. Being sedentary allows your blood to pool in your lower legs, which can put pressure on your veins and increase your risk for blood clots.

Scale Back on Sodium

People of all ages should prioritize a nutrient-rich diet for overall wellness, including vascular health. Eating well gives your body the macro and micronutrients it needs to function at its best. It may also help you prevent diseases that impact your vascular health, like diabetes. But if there’s one dietary tip seniors should focus on for vein health, it’s cutting back on sodium.

While sodium can come in the form of table salt, it’s also added to many other foods, from milk and meat to packaged products like chips, pretzels, and bread. Too much sodium is dangerous because it prompts your body to retain more fluids, increasing the pressure on your artery walls. Watching your salt intake can have tremendous benefits, though: Consuming 1,500 mg of sodium per day (instead of the 2,300 mg maximum recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) could lead to a 25% decrease in blood pressure.  Start by ditching the table salt, then begin tracking your salt intake by reading nutrition labels on the foods you eat throughout the day.

Avoid Smoking

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can cause inflammation in your blood vessels and allow plaques to develop on artery walls. Smoking has been attributed to one in four deaths from cardiovascular disease, but there’s good news: quitting improves your vascular health immediately, and things only get better over time. Talk to your doctor about the best smoking cessation method for you.

Monitor Your Key Health Metrics

There are many other factors that contribute to vascular health, including lifestyle, genetics, and environment, each of which have their own set of influences. In addition to exercising, eating well, and avoiding smoking, going for routine doctor’s visits will help you stay on top of other key health metrics. Blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol can all be important indicators of vascular health for seniors, not to mention patients of all ages. By tracking these metrics, your doctor can watch for any changes that may indicate a need for further lifestyle changes or treatments.

Schedule an Appointment With Vascular Surgical Associates 

Caring for your vascular health also means controlling any conditions you’ve been diagnosed with, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD). Our providers at Vascular Surgical Associates specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of this and other vascular conditions. Request an appointment online or by calling 770-423-0595.