Navigating a healthy festive season

Written by: Mr Michael Gaunt
Edited by: Kate Forristal

We all want to look good for the party season, enjoying the celebrations and dressing to impress, but it’s also a time to look forward to a happy and healthy New Year, making time for yourself and improving your wellbeing. In his latest online article, Mr Michael Gaunt gives us his insights.

The festive escape

Many of us spend hours travelling to see friends and family over the festive season, our cars and suitcases packed to the brim with presents. Christmas preparations and packing seem an endless task, with little time to consider ourselves. People become dehydrated either by not drinking enough, or drinking caffeinated coffee and alcohol. A long journey only exacerbates the situation, with inactive passengers sitting for long periods of time with little leg room.


Blood clots – a silent emergency

Inactivity and dehydration promote a sluggish circulation, increasing the risk of blood clots. Travel-related deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition we should all be mindful of. Commonly associated with long distance flights, it can also be triggered by car, coach and rail travel, where passengers are sitting in one position for hours.


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is caused by clot and thrombus forming in the deep veins of the leg, blocking blood flow. The affected leg becomes swollen and painful. This is an emergency which requires hospital treatment.


“Not everyone has obvious symptoms, but persistent leg cramps, aching, swelling, redness or warmth around the affected area are all significant warning signs”

Make time to take a break from driving and stretch your legs. I recommend keeping well hydrated throughout the day, avoid sitting whilst at the airport and take the opportunity to walk around the cabin during the flight.


If you’re travelling for most of the day, it’s worth taking precautions. Moving your legs whilst sitting will encourage good blood flow. I recommend gently pumping each foot and changing your sitting position when you can. Flight socks are useful, as long as they are the correct size and do not cut in behind the knee, but full leg compression stockings are better. People who are at particularly high risk include those who have had a DVT before and those who have varicose veins or other co-existing medical problems, for example a heart condition, cancer or recent surgery. There is no evidence that aspirin can prevent DVT, but for people who are at particularly high risk, subcutaneous heparin injections or oral anticoagulation can be prescribed to cover long journeys.


New Year New You

Good vascular care is a significant factor in wellbeing and health. Taking time to look after yourself, live well, keep healthy and active should also go hand in hand with recognising symptoms of varicose veins. As varicose veins develop, they may, long term, affect mobility, causing chronic pain and discomfort. Acting early can have a positive impact, as modern walk-in walk-out procedures will remove the unsightly varicose veins, improve circulation and alleviate symptoms.


The inside story 

Varicose veins differ between individuals, and what works as the appropriate treatment for one person may not be successful for another. That’s why I personally perform a full assessment with an ultrasound scan to identify the problematic veins and recommend the best procedure and treatment plan. Correcting the underlying problem will ensure long term results.


Top Tips

• Consider early treatment for the best long-term results

• Choose an expert - look for an experienced vascular surgeon who has a long-standing reputation for delivering the highest quality of service

• Tailored treatment– ask for a full venous assessment

• Safe cosmetic procedures - seek treatments that conform to medical regulations

 • Painful, tired and itchy legs? – seek a vascular health consultation


Mr Michael Gaunt is an esteemed vascular surgeon with over 35 years of experience. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Gaunt on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Michael Gaunt
Vascular surgery

Mr Michael Gaunt is consultant vascular surgeon with over 30 years’ medical experience and a specific interest in the minimally invasive treatment of venous disorders including varicose veins, thread veins and spider veins.

Mr Gaunt performs approximately 2000 consultations and 1000 treatments a year and undertakes all consultations and treatments personally to ensure the highest possible standards and provide a truly bespoke patient experience.Most consultations are one stop, with a Duplex ultrasound scan performed during the consultation enabling an immediate explanation of the problem and a treatment plan to be formulated. Information leaflets and a detailed letter describing the consultation are provided so patients are fully informed before making treatment decisions. Mr Gaunt’s team of secretaries are available to co-ordinate care and deal with any queries that arise.

Mr Gaunt treats medical and cosmetic conditions from unsightly thread veins, spider veins, red veins facial veins through to infected venous ulcers and DVT. Mr Gaunt specialises in the Endovenous Laser Ablation, Radiofrequency, Clarivein and Foam Sclerotherapy techniques for the treatment of varicose veins and injection micro-sclerotherapy and Veinwave for thread veins and facial veins.

Mr Gaunt qualified in Medicine/Surgery from the University of Leicester with his MB ChB awarded with distinction and subsequently an MA from the University of Cambridge. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1992. His Doctorate degree (MD) was awarded with distinction based on scientific research which for the first time identified the cause of strokes during arterial surgery leading to strategies to make the operations safer. In recognition of these achievements, he has been awarded multiple National and International prizes and awards. Mr Gaunt has published over 130 research papers, authored three medical textbooks and given invited lectures to learned societies around the world.

Mr Gaunt worked in the NHS for 25 years including 12 years as consultant vascular surgeon at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge. Mr Gaunt went full-time in Private Practice in 2012 and has clinics based in London, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Cryo-sclerotherapy
    Botulinum toxin (Botox™)
    Vascular disease
    Surgery and vascular testing
    Pathology of the carotid arteries
    Acute limb ischaemia
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.