Your heart is a motor-like muscle that powers your body, keeping your “machine” running smoothly and reliably. As with any other type of motor, your heart requires many different parts to keep the machinery humming, including arteries to distribute blood to the rest of your body, and veins to carry blood back to your heart.
Vascular expert David W. Ranson, MD, diagnoses and treats a variety of vein and vascular disorders -- including venous (i.e., vein) disease -- at his office in South Charleston, West Virginia. Here’s what you need to know about venous disease.
Your arteries distribute oxygenated blood from your heart to tissues and organs throughout your body. Arteries are made of thick, muscular tissue that pumps blood forward.
Veins bring deoxygenated blood back to your heart. However, veins are thinner and weaker than arteries. They require valves to keep blood moving in the right direction. Veins have to work against gravity to move blood upward from your legs so they can reach your heart and become oxygenated again.
If you have venous disease, the valves in your veins have weakened, which causes blood to flow backward and pool. Dysfunctional valves can cause varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot. They also slow down the “motor” and can lead to many health problems.
You’re most likely to experience symptoms of venous disease symptoms after you sit or stand for a long time. Symptoms include:
Venous disease usually occurs after the age of 40-years-old. If you’re overweight or a woman, you have a higher risk of developing the disease. Women who’ve had multiple pregnancies have a greater risk, too.
Lifestyle changes can help strengthen your veins and reduce your symptoms. Depending on your unique symptoms and medical history, Dr. Ranson may recommend:
You can think of exercise as a fountain of youth. Exercise, even something as simple as walking, helps weak, dysfunctional venous valves gain strength again.
Exercise provides two benefits for people prone to or suffering from venous disease. First, movement from exercising helps push blood through your veins. Second, exercise helps you lose weight, which takes the pressure off your legs and can alleviate symptoms.
Wearing tight, elastic socks may relieve your symptoms. The socks put pressure on your legs and veins, which helps your blood move in the right direction. Compression socks prevent blood from pooling behind the damaged valves.
If you must stand for a long time at work, wiggle your feet, stretch, or find other ways to take the pressure off your feet and legs. If you’re on your feet all day, standing or walking, take frequent breaks to sit and elevate your legs throughout the day.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough or if your vein has been severely compromised, Dr. Ranson may recommend:
Your circulation naturally reroutes itself to healthier veins once Dr. Ranson removes or closes the damaged veins. He then recommends lifestyle changes to keep the valves on your healthy veins strong and functional.
If you have varicose veins, venous disease, or painful, swollen legs or feet, contact us today by phone or online form.