The New Year is traditionally a time when we take stock of our lives and aim to make improvements to our health. The vascular system – the heart, veins, arteries and circulation – is an element of our health that should never be overlooked. Maintaining good vascular health is essential for keeping the body working properly and staving off disease.

If this year comes with aspirations to improve your health, making the effort to keep the vascular system working well would be a good place to start. Take a look at the following ways to improve your vascular health in 2018.

Give up smoking

Smoking is one of the leading preventable cause of premature death in the U.K. Tobacco smokers are at a higher risk of developing vascular problems that can lead to chronic diseases. Smoking causes fatty build-ups to clog the arteries, which can lead to several types of cancer, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

If you smoke, one of the best ways to improve your vascular health in 2018 is to give up the habit.

Improve your blood circulation

A healthy vascular system relies on a healthy flow of blood around the body. One of the most effective ways to get the blood flowing freely is to carry out regular exercise. Whether it’s joining a gym, taking the dog for a walk, or going on jogs, regular exercise will improve blood circulation, promote the growth of new blood vessels and help improve and maintain good vascular health.

Eat a low cholesterol diet

Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol will reduce the risk of plaque building up in the arteries. A plaque build-up in the arteries prevents the blood flowing to and from the vessels and can cause a disease known as atherosclerosis.

Lose weight

As Allina Health notes, for every pound of fat, the heart has to pump blood through what equates to an extra mile’s worth of blood vessels. If you are overweight, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight through a sensible diet and regular exercise, will help keep the vascular system in a good working condition.

Keep an eye on your blood pressure

High blood pressure can lead to arterial damage, putting you at risk of heart failure, kidney damage, a heart attack and a stroke. Blood pressure should be no higher than 140/90. Carrying out regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet and maintaining a good weight, will help keep your blood pressure at a normal rate.

If you need more advice about vascular health and treatment for certain vascular conditions, get in touch with the vascular experts at The Vascular Consultancy.


By delivering the blood around the body to the heart, veins are a crucial part of our circulatory system and healthy veins are important for maintaining optimum health and wellbeing. A balanced diet that includes certain vitamins and minerals helps keep the veins healthy. But which vitamins are most effective in improving and maintaining the condition of our veins?

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps the blood to flow through the veins without obstruction and is an effective vitamin for the prevention of blood clumping together and clots forming in the veins.

Vitamin E supplements can be taken to boost levels of this vital mineral. As can eating Vitamin E-rich food, such as green leafy vegetable, nuts and eggs.

Vitamin B

By helping to balance cholesterol levels, vitamin B is another important mineral for promoting vein health. B vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid and biotin, strengthen blood vessels and are associated with helping to treat and prevent unwanted vascular conditions such as varicose veins.

Foods with high levels of the B vitamins include, bananas, lentils, potatoes, beans, many meat products, and unprocessed food, such as wheat and brown rice.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C builds elastin and collagen in the skin, which keeps the blood vessels and skin flexible and strong. These elastin and collagen fibres enables the veins to be less susceptible to pressure and help prevent valves from leaking.

Vitamin C can be found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, tomatoes and broccoli.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is another important vitamin in the promotion of healthy veins. Inadequate levels of vitamin K has been attributed to the cause of varicose veins. It is believed that sufficient levels of vitamin K in the diet can help prevent vascular problems from arising, such as varicose veins.

Vitamin K is found naturally in certain food, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce and broccoli.

If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your veins or about any vascular conditions like varicose veins, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, specialists in promoting and maintaining optimum vein health.


A vascular malformation is a type of congenial growth that is present at birth or a birthmark, which is made up of veins, capillaries, arteries or lymphatic vessels. There is many different types of vascular malformations, which have different medical names, according to which blood vessel is principally affected.

Vascular malformations are typically present at birth and grow at proportionality with the child. These malformations do not tend to involute spontaneously but may become more pronounced and apparent as the child grows.

What causes vascular malformations

Most vascular malformations tend to occur by chance. That said, these malformations can also be inherited, caused by an autosomal dominant gene. There is a 50/50 risk during each pregnancy that the gene will be passed from the parent to the child.

Venous malformations are a type of slow-flow vascular malformation, which are caused by abnormalities when the veins were developing. Venous malformations can occur anywhere on the body and face. They often appear as red or light-blue stains or swellings on the skin.

It is not uncommon for some patients with venous malformations to have blood clotting within the malformation. While some, more severe venous malformations can cause pain and discomfort due to the swelling, most venous malformations are not life-threatening.

Vascular malformation treatment

Treatment for vascular malformation depends on the type of malformation that requires treating. If a patient is seeking treatment for a capillary malformation or a stain on the skin, laser therapy can be an effective form of treatment.

Embolization, whereby the flow of blood into the malformation is blocked through the injection of material close to the lesion, is often used to treat arterial malformations.

Lymphatic and venous malformations are typically treated by the injection of a sclerosing mediation, which causes the channels to clot. Surgical options are also available with certain vascular malformations.

If you have a vascular condition and would like help, advice and support, get in contact with Daryll Baker at the Vascular Consultancy. Daryll Baker is a UK leading specialist in providing advice, diagnosis and treatment options so patients can make informed decisions about suitable ways to treat vascular conditions.


They say we are what we eat and when it comes to preventing unsightly spider veins from appearing on the skin, it is important we consider the food we consume.

Spider veins can be caused by a number of issues, including exposure to the sun, hormonal changes, a backup of blood, and injuries. While the onset of these unappealing purply/blue veins is often unpreventable, eating the right foods can help delay or even prevent spider veins from occurring.

Take a look at five foods to eat to help prevent varicose veins.


Fibrin is a protein that helps prevent the blood from clotting. Excessive amounts of fibrin are found in spider veins and varicose veins. Pineapple is rich is bromelain, a digestive enzyme, which is known for processing fibrin and improving blood circulation. It is believed that regularly consuming pineapple can help reduce the chances of spider and varicose veins from occurring.


From reducing muscle pain and soreness to treating morning sickness and nausea, the powerful health and wellbeing-boosting properties of ginger have long been known and documented. But did you know that due to its ability to improve circulation and dissolve fibrin in the blood vessels, ginger can be used to treat varicose veins, promote vein health and help prevent on onset of spider veins?


Avocado is rich in vitamin E and C, both of which are potent vascular health-boosting vitamins. These delicious vegetables also have large amounts of glutathione, a substance known for protecting the veins and arteries from damage caused by oxidants.


Regarded as a ‘superfood’ due to their antioxidant properties and high concentration of anthocyanins, blueberries are known for repairing damaged proteins in the walls of the blood vessels. Eating plenty of blueberries can promote and maintain a healthy operating vascular system, which could help prevent spider veins.


Asparagus is a great source of vitamin K, is high is vitamin B1 thiamine and contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This well-known superfood also helps to strengthen the capillaries and veins, preventing them from rupturing and therefore reducing the chances of spider veins appearing on the skin.

As well as eating theses superfoods regularly to improve the blood circulation and health of the veins and capillaries, it is recommended to cut down the amount of salt in the diet, which encourages swelling, contributing to compromised veins.

If you would like to discuss treatment for spider or varicose veins, get in touch with the team of vascular experts at the Vascular Consultancy.


Former Rangers footballer Justin Wingate is returning to the football pitch after two decades following a revolutionary operation for varicose veins.

The 43-year-old had picked up a devastating injury which ended his football career some 20 years ago. The reconstruction surgery Justin Wingate had needed, left him with unsightly pins in his legs, which caused varicose veins to surface on the skin. Embarrassed about the appearance of the varicose veins, Wingate says he covered up his legs for 20 years.

Talking to the Daily Record, the ex-footballer spoke of how varicose veins impacted his confidence, commenting:

“By the time I was 25, I had the legs of a 70-year-old. It became a big issue for me in relation to my confidence.”

As well as suffering from confidence issues, which meant Wingate would wear long shorts and socks to cover up his knees if he ventured onto a pitch, the former Rangers players said the varicose veins became painful.

“By the time I was in my 30s, they got really painful too,” said Justin Wingate.

The football player said he heard about a laser ablation therapy, less invasive treatment for varicose veins that didn’t involve surgery or needles.

Wingate, who now works in IT, said he felt no pain with the laser treatment and in a couple of days following the therapy was mobile and is now playing for the amateur football club, Glasgow Hoppers.

“I can’t believe the difference it’s made, and it took no longer than a filling at the dentist,” he said.

Laser ablation therapy or endovenous laser treatment as it is known, involves removing superficial veins by cauterising them. The long saphenous vein is cannulated using an ultrasound machine. A laser wire is passed up the superficial vein to the groin. The laser is turned on and the vein is cauterised by pulling the wire slowly out.

The whole procedure is done under a general or local anaesthetic.

To discuss less invasive treatments for varicose veins including endovenous laser treatment, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, specialists in treating varicose veins and other vascular conditions.



Varicose veins might be synonymous with ageing ladies but in actual fact the condition can affect anyone, at any age. These protruding veins on the surface of the skin can cause discomfort and torment amongst those who suffer from them.

If you are concerned about varicose veins, dissecting the facts about this common condition from the myths can not only help put your mind at rest but also help you efficiently control and treat the ailment.

To unravel the truth from the inaccuracies, take a look at the following five popular varicose veins myths busted.

Myth 1: Varicose veins are merely a cosmetic issue

These lumpy veins can be unsightly and many sufferers are keen to reduce the appearance of varicose veins for cosmetic reasons. However, the symptoms of the condition stretch much further than aesthetical ones.

By increasing the pressure in the veins, the ailment can cause discomfort, including swelling, leg heaviness, throbbing and pain. This in turn can lead to fatigue and a reduced quality of life.

Myth 2: Standing for long periods of time can cause varicose veins

While standing for long periods can cause the legs to ache and perhaps aggravate the discomfort caused by varicose veins, there is no evidence to suggest the act of standing can trigger the condition.

Myth 3: Varicose veins only affect women

Another common myth is that varicose veins only affects women. The truth is the condition is not gender-specific and can affect men as well as women. Women do tend to be at a higher risk than men of developing these unsightly veins, due to the fact women produce higher levels of the hormone progesterone, which is associated with the onset on varicose veins. However, men are not immune to the condition and can also suffer from the discomfort and cosmetic angst varicose veins can create.

Myth 4: There is little point treating varicose veins as they will always return

Another inaccurate myth involving varicose veins is likely to have stemmed from less effective methods of treatment in the past, which wouldn’t fully eliminate the problem.

Today, treatments such as sclerotherapy and endothermal ablation, remove the affected veins. If the protruded veins did reoccur, it would typically be due to another malfunctioning vein.

Myth 5: Veins shouldn’t be treated unless they are causing discomfort

These unsightly veins can lead to sufferers being anxious about their appearance and damaging self-esteem. Not all problem veins do cause pain or discomfort but if they are causing cosmetic concern, the sufferer should not be worried about seeking advice about having the veins treated.

Less invasive treatments are available for varicose veins that don’t require hospital admission, such as wearing compression stockings.

If you are concerned about varicose veins and would like to discuss different types of treatment, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy and Daryll Baker, a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Centr


A good circulation of the blood is key to maintaining a healthy body. As the blood circulated, it delivers oxygen and essential nutrients to the different organs and the cells of the body. Without the circulation of the blood, the body cannot function.

It is therefore vital that we maintain good blood circulation and continue to strive to improve the circulatory system.

As well as exercising and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water is an effective strategy for improving blood circulation.

Water plays a vital role in facilitating the flow of blood around the body. Studies implicated with blood circulation have shown that a poor circulation of blood can be caused by a number of factors, including a low consumption of fluids.

Though certain fluids, namely caffeine and alcohol, can cause dehydration within the body. Dehydration has a negative effect on the organs and the cardiovascular system. As dehydration decreases the blood volume in the body, it responds by retaining higher levels of sodium. High concentrations of sodium in the blood is linked to causing high blood pressure, which can, in turn, lead to the body closing its small blood vessels, known as capillaries.

Water is the best liquid to keep the body well hydrated and healthy, contributing to the well-being of the blood vessels.

How much water should we drink?

Whilst there is no single formula regarding how much water we should drink, and it greatly depends on the individual and their requirements, studies do offer some fairly definitive figures.

Experts repeatedly advice that in order to stay sufficiently hydrated, we should aim at drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Conditions caused by poor blood circulation

When the blood is not circulating properly through the body, health issues can rear their head, including:

  • Varicose veins
  • Memory loss
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Headaches and dizzy spells
  • Vision loss
  • Restricted blood flow to the brain

As well as drinking plenty of water and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, doing regular physical exercise is an essential way to maintain healthy blood circulation.

It is generally advised that in order for the arteries to have adequate peripheral circulation, we are active for at least


Problems with our circulatory systems can be a sign of other health issues, such as varicose veins and thrombosis. High or low blood pressure is a leading cause of circulatory problems. Having cold hands and feet, which is often accompanied with a tingling ‘pins and needles’ sensation, are common signs that the circulatory system isn’t working at its best.

Insufficient oxygen to the tissues due to poor circulation can cause the fingers and the toes to become white or even blue in colour.

In cold weather, the condition can be worsened. It is therefore important to take steps to improve blood circulation during the colder months.

Drink less caffeine

Caffeine is proven to constrict the blood vessels, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure. To avoid caffeine negatively impacting your circulatory system, refrain from drinking too much coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks this winter.

Keep moving

When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to curl up on the sofa and not want to move! Though sitting for long periods of time can take its toll on the circulatory system as it decreases the flow of blood around the body, which can cause cold hands and feet and could potentially lead to more serious ailments.

Make the effort to regularly move around during the winter, even if it’s just going for a short walk or doing some exercises as you’re sat down.

Consume higher amounts of garlic

Garlic has incredible immune-boosting properties and is also extremely good for the heart. Consuming garlic can help improve cholesterol levels in the blood and lessen the chances of platelet clumping in the blood.

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise gets the heart beating and the blood pumping around the body, keeping you warm and helping to stave off high blood pressure and other circulatory issues.

You might not feel like exercising when it’s cold and wet but getting regular exercise is one of the key ways to improve your blood circulation all year round.

Eat plenty of ginger

Ginger is another food type that has great healing properties, including improving the flow of blood around the body and helping keep cold hands and feet at bay. So, ensure there’s plenty of ginger in your herbs and spices cupboard this winter!

If you are concerned with any aspect of your vascular health and would like to discuss your concerns with specialists in vascular systems, get in contact with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in treating varicose veins and other vascular conditions.


The small blood vessels which connect the arteries and the veins are called capillaries. When a capillary becomes broken, they can sometimes be seen on the surface of the skin as a reddish or blue thread. These broken capillaries that are visible on the skin are often referred to as spider veins, as they resemble the pattern of a spider’s web.

The tiny red blemishes can appear anywhere on the face but often occur under the nose or under the eyes.

Whilst facial spider veins are harmless, some people are concerned about their appearance and seek to get them treated.

Some of the key causes of these broken capillaries on the face include:


Unfortunately, it is often our genetical makeup that can make us more susceptible to facial spider veins. If older generations of families have suffered from spider veins, the chances are younger generations will as well.


Ageing is one of the leading causes of facial spider veins. When we get older, our skin loses its elasticity and weakens. The skin loses its recuperative powers and consequently, people can see more spider veins appearing on their face.

Excessive exposure to the sun

Free radicals cause oxidative damage to the skin. As the sun contains free radicals, excessive exposure to UVA rays can cause spider veins to manifest themselves on the surface of the skin.

Smoking and alcohol

Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause the breaking and a swelling of the blood vessels. Smoking also causes the oxidation of the cells, which can be detrimental to the body’s circulatory system. A weaker circulatory system can mean that the capillaries are less resistant to breakages and damage.


Obesity can also be a leading cause of facial spider veins. Being clinically overweight puts pressure on the body and causes the blood not to circulate around the body as well as it should. The skin is also overstretched when someone is obese, making capillaries more prone to breaking.

Hormonal imbalances

Fluctuations of the hormones are also linked to the onset of facial spider veins. The changes of hormones during pregnancy, the menopause or puberty, can lead to the formation of spider veins on the face and elsewhere on the body.

If you are concerned with any aspect of your vascular health and would like to discuss your concerns with specialists in vascular systems, get in contact with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in treating varicose veins and other vascular conditions.


Our bodies comprise of a vascular system made up of arteries, veins and blood vessels. This vascular system delivers oxygen and blood to the cells. If our veins and arteries become damaged, it can hamper the flow of blood and oxygen around the body, making us more susceptible to chronic diseases.

It is therefore important we maintain the health of our veins and arteries.

The Vascular Consultancy provides some tips on how to improve the health and condition of your veins.

Exercise regularly

By promoting a healthy flow of blood and oxygen around the body, exercising regularly helps keep the veins strong and in top condition.

Aerobic exercise that gets the blood pumping and the heart beating, such as swimming, running, hiking and cycling, is great for improving blood circulation and keeping veins and arteries healthy. Gentler exercise like walking and gardening, gets the blood moving around the veins, helping to prevent them from becoming damaged.

If you do suffer from varicose veins, more strenuous activities may aggravate the condition, so it is generally recommended to stick to more low and modern-intensity exercise, such as walking.

A healthy diet

Getting a healthy, well-balanced diet has a positive impact on our vascular health. Eating foods that are rich in fibre can help reduce the risk of disorders such as high cholesterol, which can have a negative impact on the veins and arteries.

High levels of blood cholesterol can result in fatty plagues building up in the blood vessels, which can lead to the weakening of the artery walls. Eating a high fibre diet helps to remove unhealthy fats from our digestive system.

If you suffer from varicose veins, eating a diet rich in bioflavonoids can help alleviate the pain and swelling caused by the condition. The bioflavonoids found in the likes of dark leafy vegetables, garlic, onions, cranberries and blueberries, can strengthen the valves of the blood vessel walls, thus reducing the leakage of blood and keeping the veins in good condition.

Consuming foods that contain high levels of vitamin C is important for preserving the health of our vascular systems. Vitamin C produces collagen and elastin, which helps keep the walls of the veins strong and flexible.

The production of the elastic fibres, collagen and elastin, also helps to prevent capillaries from breaking and the appearance of superficial spider veins from appearing under the skin.

If you are concerned with any aspect of your vascular health and would like to discuss your concerns with specialists in vascular systems, get in contact with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in treating varicose veins and other vascular conditions.


Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.


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