Vein weakness, venous insufficiency or venous disease is declared a widespread disease and can occur at a very young age. However, venous insufficiency does not necessarily have to be a typical age-related disease. In addition, vein problems can be prevented.
What is venous insufficiency
Vein insufficiency (venous disorders) manifests itself through various symptoms that impair well-being and quality of life to a greater or lesser extent. For meteorism meaning, please visit phonejust.com.
The description of the disease, venous insufficiency, makes it clear that symptoms are developing in the area of the blood-carrying vessels, the veins. Venous insufficiency is usually based on a limited ability of the veins to pump the oxygen-poor and waste-rich blood from the legs back to the heart.
The blood “sinks” in the lower extremities and leads to the typical symptoms. If left untreated, venous disease can develop into a serious disease that is extremely dangerous to health. The functional restriction of the veins thus entails extensive consequential damage if no suitable therapy is carried out.
The causes of venous insufficiency are now clearly known. The so-called risk factors, which are to be found in external and internal conditions, are important for vein disorders.
In order to constantly strengthen the veins, physical exercise is essential. A sedentary lifestyle and the associated obesity can promote venous insufficiency. Due to permanent sitting or standing at work and in our free time, the legs are rarely challenged by walking. This can easily lead to venous insufficiency.
For women, pregnancy and various medications, such as birth control pills, are considered increased risk factors. A special situation that can contribute to venous insufficiency without appropriate prevention is a surgical intervention with a long period of stay associated with it.
A hereditary predisposition and an increased susceptibility of the blood to clotting are also among the causes of venous insufficiency.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The venous insufficiency is generally expressed by tired and heavy legs. In the early stages, however, there are no symptoms. However, without treatment, the disease will progress and eventually lead to leg ulcers. A vein disease is usually accompanied by feelings of tension and heaviness in the legs.
At the same time there is swelling because water is stored in the legs. Pain occurs after prolonged standing or walking. Foot and calf cramps are also common. Patients also often suffer from itching of the legs. In severe cases, eczema and leg ulcers develop.
Since the disease progresses in stages, not all symptoms are usually observed at the same time, with the exception of the most severe stage. Venous insufficiency is divided into seven stages. At the beginning, in stage C0, there are no symptoms. So-called spider veins then appear in the subsequent stage C1. These are the finest spider web-like vein markings that appear reddish to bluish.
In the following stage, varices (varicose veins) appear on the lower legs, calves or the hollows of the knees. Stage C3 is then characterized by swollen legs due to water retention. As the disease progresses, skin changes occur. Brownish skin pigmentation appears particularly in the ankle area. The skin flakes and itches. Eventually, open sores develop that heal poorly. The risk of thrombosis formation increases sharply.
Diagnosis & History
Vein insufficiency is, in addition to smoker’s legs, also popularly known as claudication because the painful symptoms force those affected to stay for a long time.
Not every vein disease is life-threatening, but is characterized by a rather harmless course. Nevertheless, venous insufficiency must be treated in any case. The gradually occurring heavy and tired legs, discomfort in the legs, varicose veins and later blood clots include dead skin areas, a thrombosis and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
In addition, signs of venous insufficiency that are important for the diagnosis are fluid retention in the legs, deep-reaching ulcers and swollen ankles.
Vein insufficiency can cause problems in different parts of the body. First and foremost, there is severe pain in the legs. The legs feel heavy and those affected can no longer actively participate in everyday life. Swellings in the legs can also occur due to venous insufficiency and have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life.
Many of those affected continue to suffer from cramps in the calves or severe itching in the legs. These symptoms occur frequently, especially at night, and can lead to sleep problems and irritability on the part of the patient. Likewise, the legs may tingle or feel numb. In severe cases, venous insufficiency also leads to paralysis or sensory disturbances.
If the symptoms are not treated, water retention in the legs can also occur. Venous insufficiency can be treated with medication and compression stockings. There are no complications. Those affected, however, need lifelong treatment. Life expectancy is unaffected by the disease.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the veins are becoming increasingly blue, if countless spider veins have formed or if your legs feel heavy and swollen, you should definitely see a doctor. This can be the family doctor, who may refer you to a specialist, or the phlebologist, the specialist in vein diseases, can be contacted immediately. Even if the veins are already inflamed and the leg hurts, it is urgently time to see a doctor.
In addition, it makes sense not to postpone your visit to the doctor so far in the first place. Anyone who knows that they have weak connective tissue and venous insufficiency should consult a doctor in good time. After examining the status of the disease, he will specify the rhythm of the check-ups, for example every two years, and will recommend suitable preventive measures. Compression stockings are usually prescribed. This is another reason to see a doctor: If these tight-fitting stockings are broken and/or new ones are needed, a trip to the doctor is also essential.
Treatment & Therapy
Depending on the first symptoms to be noticed, a timely therapy of the venous insufficiency can be implemented. This usually begins when the patient complains about symptoms.
By elevating the legs to relieve the leg veins and the heart and by wearing compression stockings every day and applying vein bandages, the progression of the disease can be delayed and the symptoms alleviated. Cold baths and regular exercise are also useful. Rubbing the legs with herbal medicinal substances that promote increased blood circulation leads to a better sense of well-being in many of those affected. Varicose veins that occur can and sometimes even have to be surgically removed.
Adjunctive medical treatment for venous insufficiency includes the administration of drugs to increase the flow rate of the veins. In order to prevent thrombosis from occurring due to the formation of blood clots, it is advisable to administer drugs from different active groups in the event of venous insufficiency.
These are intended to reduce the fluid permeability of the leg veins in the form of so-called oedema-protective agents. In the case of vein problems, diuretics help to eliminate water retention in the legs. As part of other therapeutic options, superficial veins can be surgically sclerosed.
The development of venous insufficiency cannot be prevented in all patients. Sufficient physical exercise (sport), a healthy and balanced diet and observing side effects and contraindications for drugs are central aspects of prophylaxis against vein problems. Circulation-promoting measures in the context of physiotherapeutic methods and wellness are also beneficial to counteract venous insufficiency.
If the venous insufficiency has to be treated surgically, appropriate follow-up treatment is important. The behavior of the patient after the operation also plays an important role. On the one hand, it makes sense for the patient to take it easy after the operation, but on the other hand, he should be able to move around easily.
Medical check-ups are also required after vein surgery. There is a risk of after-effects such as swelling or inflammation of the veins. In some cases, there is even a risk of blood clots and dangerous embolisms. As part of the follow-up examination, the doctor can identify such complications at an early stage and treat them accordingly.
Wearing special compression stockings is an important part of the aftercare. If the vein operation goes well, the patient wears the stockings continuously for about a week. The special stockings support the healing process and are therefore considered indispensable.
After the first week, the patient only needs to wear the compression stockings during the day for the next five weeks. It may sometimes be necessary to apply a compression bandage after the operation, depending on the extent of the operation. Slight movement is also beneficial. However, the patient must pay attention to the right amount and take regular breaks to protect the veins. Light walks and everyday movements in the household are considered sensible.
You can do that yourself
The treatment that the doctor recommends for venous insufficiency depends on the symptoms. As a rule, the patient has to wear compression stockings, which put pressure on the veins in the legs and relieve the venous valves. In addition, special compression stockings prevent fluid from sagging into the tissue, which in turn reduces swelling. Special pressure bandages are similarly effective.
Sufficient exercise is recommended to support this, whereby gentle sports such as aqua jogging, swimming or walking on soft surfaces are particularly suitable. At least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day are necessary to effectively counteract venous insufficiency. Prolonged sitting, especially with bent legs, should be avoided. Alternatively, the legs can be relieved by special ball of foot training.
In standing jobs, exercises such as wiggling with your toes or circling your feet are recommended. The load on the feet should be reduced again and again, for example by placing one foot on a pedestal. A pronounced weakness of the veins is usually treated with medication. The most important self-help measure here is to monitor the side effects and interactions of the prescribed medication.