What Is Venous Disease (And What Can I Do About It)?

Your body is an amazing machine. It performs millions of actions every day. And at the center of everything is your heart. It supplies blood to your whole body to keep everything healthy.

While your heart may be the motor, it relies on multiple accessories to keep things moving. Your arteries distribute blood from your heart to the rest of your body, and your veins carry your blood back to your heart. It’s your veins that venous disease affects.

The veins in your legs contain valves that let blood go up and not flow back. Venous disease occurs when these valves no longer do their job, which can lead to a host of health issues as blood pools in your legs. Fortunately, there are ways to fight this condition. 

At North Atlanta Vascular Clinic, our highly qualified team of doctors and nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat a variety of vein and vascular disorders, including venous disease. 

Venous disease basics

Arteries take oxygenated blood from your heart and distributes it to your tissues and organs, and veins bring deoxygenated blood back to your heart. While arteries are made of fairly thick tissue, veins are weaker, and thus they require valves to keep blood moving in the right direction. Think of valves as turnstiles. As blood moves up toward your heart, the valves keep this blood from falling back and pooling.

Venous disease occurs when the valves in your legs don’t perform correctly. This can be caused by valve dysfunction, deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot.

When damaged valves are unable to prevent blood from falling back, some of the blood can flow backwards and pool at the next working valve. The pooled blood can put pressure on the walls of the vein.

Venous disease symptoms

Venous disease symptoms are often most obvious after long periods of standing or sitting. The most common symptoms include:

Some people are more likely to develop venous disease, and the Society for Vascular Surgery estimates that up to 40% of Americans are impacted. Venous disease mainly occurs in men and women age 40 and older. If you’re overweight or a woman, you’re at a higher risk of developing the disease, especially if you’ve had multiple pregnancies.

What you can do

Prevention and treatment of venous disease go hand in hand. As with many diseases, lifestyle changes are key to treatment.

Compression socks

Compression socks have helped many patients with venous disease. These tight, elastic socks put pressure on your legs and veins. The tightness can help keep your blood moving in the right direction and prevent blood from pooling.

Exercise

Exercise can provide two benefits. For one, the movement that’s intrinsic to walking or exercising can help push your blood through your veins. Secondly, if you’re overweight, weight loss has been shown to help alleviate symptoms.

Ease the pressure

If you have to sit or stand for long periods of time due to work or other commitments, try not to keep continuous pressure on your feet. Wiggle your feet, stretch, or find ways to take the pressure off of your feet and legs. Taking a quick break to sit and put your feet up can pay dividends.

Surgery

If your problem vein has been weakened severely, surgery may be necessary to strengthen the vein, replace the damaged section, or reroute blood to a healthier vein.

If you have venous disease or want to see if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with North Atlanta Vascular Clinic today. We’ll provide the help and expertise you need to get your veins back to full health.

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