Why is vein health important?
Vein health is important because veins are responsible for the circulation of your blood. The main role of the veins is to return blood to your heart once it has been pumped through the body. If veins become damaged they will give way to the forces of gravity and not return blood back to your heart.
How to keep veins healthy?
Eat more fiber. Fiber is essential for balanced nutrition and normal digestive function. It also helps to reduce the risk of other disorders such as high cholesterol which can affect the vascular system.
Drink water, we all need it…and you deserve to be hydrated! Also, water helps fiber do its job by flushing out the system and by promoting circulation.
Use safer injection practices if you are using injection drugs.
Foods that are good for your veins!
- Red bell peppers or sweet peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
- Tropical fruits – mangoes, papaya
Tips for maintaining vein health while using injection drugs:
Rotating injection sites allow veins time to rest and repair after being used and will help prevent them from collapsing or becoming infected with abscesses.
Infections, abscesses, and the overuse of veins can affect the flow of blood through the body.
Keep your injection site clean.
Typically, veins in the hands and arms are the best sites to use. Some parts of the body are very dangerous to inject into and people are strongly encouraged to avoid using them. These parts are the neck, groin, penis, eyes, feet and breasts.
Some techniques for finding a vein include:
- Using a thin, pliable tourniquet that is easy to release
- Running warm water over the site
- Tightening the shirt sleeve on the upper arm
- Making a pumping action with the fist
- Swinging the arm in a circle
Using the needle to “fish around” for a vein will cause bruising and damage the veins. Instead, it is recommended that the person remove the needle and try again. The site will need to be cleaned again if it was touched by anything but the needle.
Drink water! Keeping hydrated increases, the size of veins so that you are more likely to get a successful hit.
Cut back on caffeine and cigarettes 1-2 hours before using. Caffeine and cigarettes can shrink veins and make them harder to find.
Food Skills, CRC | Regent Park Community Food Centre, www.tcrc.ca