Gravity is the Root Cause of Vein Disease (But You Can Defy it!)
You know the feeling. You suffer from tired, heavy legs and aching feet that won’t go away, no matter what kind of shoes you buy. It affects your quality of life and often goes without the correct diagnosis and treatment. If you suffer from these conditions, you may have varicose veins and chronic venous disease that is caused by gravity. The good news is that it is treatable.
Whether referred to as venous insufficiency, ambulatory venous hypertension, phlebitis, venous stasis, or venous ulcers -- vein disease is a unique human condition. The results create aching, cramping, tiredness, swelling, heavy, burning, itching, and restless legs. The causes vary and include genetics, pregnancy, hormones, occupation, flat feet, injury, and venous thrombosis, to name a few. But gravity is the root cause.
What are the Causes of Chronic Venous Disease?
The problem is in the veins of your legs. Blood that flows through your leg veins must travel uphill to get back to the heart—against the forces of gravity. Arteries are high-pressure conduits that bring nutrient-rich oxygenated blood to the organs. The veins and lymphatics (a network of tissue that is part of the circulatory system and immune system) are low-pressure vessels that carry the sewage back to the heart and lungs to rejuvenate and recirculate.
Newton’s Laws dictate that for anything to travel uphill, it must be pumped.
Think of your calf muscle as a second heart. When we walk, the calf pump constricts around the veins and milks the venous blood back towards the heart. The veins have one-way valves that keep the blood pumping up and not going back toward earth.
Now here’s the rub. Since Ford invented the car and Gates invented the PC, folks have quit walking. As we sit and stand, blood is constantly being delivered to our legs, but it cannot return to the heart. This results in large ropey varicose veins (VV) and smaller spider veins, and the more insidious problem of edema (swelling). Edema is a sign of more advanced venous insufficiency.
As the venous pressure (vascular pressure in a vein) increases, protein-rich edema (swelling caused by trapped fluid) leaks out of the veins into the surrounding tissue. If ignored, it will set up an inflammatory reaction that stains the skin and kills the subcutaneous tissue (the deepest layer of your skin). In the worst-case scenario it can cause cellulitis (serious bacterial skin infection) and ulceration (an open sore caused by poor blood flow).
Treatment for Vein Disease
Treatment for venous disease is three-fold:
- First, I recommend my patients get on a walking program, with a minimum of at least one mile a day.
- Second, I recommend patients invest in properly fitted graduated compression socks. These socks are anti-gravity devices that fit snug at the ankle and loosen up as they go up your leg. Compression stockings can relieve the pressure on your dysfunctional veins. When used in addition to walking, they can restore your quality of life by minimizing venous hypertension symptoms.
- Third, suppose walking and compression socks don't work. In that case, there are straight-forward, safe, minimally invasive outpatient procedures that can effectively treat this condition with little downtime. These are called ablative procedures.
- Thermal ablation uses either laser energy or radiofrequency energy via tiny catheters inserted into the larger truncal veins to closes the refluxing veins.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy uses 2mm incisions to access and hook the ropey varicose veins and remove them once and for all. Both procedures are done with the local anesthesia lidocaine.
- Lastly, sclerotherapy treatment uses a mild sclerosant (medicine) injected into the vein that causes the vein to scar, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. These procedures provide my patients almost instantaneous relief. (The old “vein stripping” procedures went out with the dinosaurs.)
So it is simple. Recognize the problem, schedule an appointment to confirm the diagnosis with a venous duplex ultrasound. Now get started living the quality of life you deserve with some very simple measures that defy gravity.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Harding
Venous insufficiency is a progressive disorder that, in most case, will get worse over time. The primary focus at Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) is diagnosing and treating venous insufficiency and getting our patients back to the life they love. Don’t wait another day. Treatments are quick, minimally invasive with little down time, and covered by major insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Call 1-800-FIX LEGS or visit centerforvein.com to schedule your appointment.