How Vein Disease Develops
As a result of their upright stance and sedentary lifestyles, human beings are the only life forms that suffer from vein disease. A lack of exercise and too much standing or sitting places considerable pressure on the venous system for many hours of the day. Heredity and age are contributing factors, as is pregnancy. The muscle-pumping action no longer adequately supports the return transport of the blood. If your veins become distended, the valves can no longer close, due to their increased diameter. The blood flows backwards and the superficial veins, which are not held in place by muscles or bone, appear as snaking varicose veins
The concept of compression therapy relies on a simple and efficient mechanical principle: the application of an elastic garment around the leg. By compressing the limb with graduated compression – strongest at the ankle and decreasing going up the leg – the compression stocking helps the venous return, decreases venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and deterioration of venous walls, and efficiently relieves aching and heavy legs by aiding the body in moving blood up the leg against the pull of gravity.
Compression stockings are used to treat phlebitis, thrombosis and aftercare following surgery, sclerotherapy, and also to relieve all conditions of chronic venous disease (heavy legs, varicose veins, oedemas, leg ulcers). It can also be used to prevent venous issues during pregnancy and long distance travel.
Depending on the condition, compression therapy can be applied in different forms: socks, stockings, pantyhose or bandages. These come in a variety of new textures and fashion designs.
8 Warning Signs of Vein Disease
Tired, heavy-feeling legs – One of the first signs of vein disease is your legs feeling chronically tired and heavy in the evenings. This is a clear indication that the return
flow of blood from the legs to the heart is impaired. The main cause is gravity. After
a long day of standing on your feet, your weakened veins are less able to carry the
blood back up to your heart efficiently. The result is oxygen depletion in your legs, giving
you that heavy, tired feeling.
Leg pain from prolonged sitting or standing – The muscles in your legs play an important role in massaging the veins and helping them “pump” blood. During long periods of sitting or standing, when the muscles are at rest, blood may collect in the legs and ankles. The leg veins stretch easily and may become enlarged by the pressure of the pooled blood. This in turn can cause dull, aching pain.
Swollen ankles at night – Thick, swollen ankles are definite signs that blood or other fluid is congested in the leg and/or leg veins. Over time, damaged vein walls can become even more stretched out and permeable, allowing fluid and protein to filter from the veins into surrounding leg tissue, which causes the swelling. When you lie down at night, the pressure from gravity is equalized across your leg.
Varicose or spider veins, especially during or after pregnancy – One of the main factors contributing to vein disease is pregnancy. During pregnancy, the amount of blood greatly increases throughout the body to almost double the normal volume, stretching leg veins far beyond their normal capacity. Even though the visible signs of varicose veins may disappear after birth, the damage done to veins during pregnancy is permanent and may cause pain and discomfort later in life. These problems can be avoided if compression therapy is prescribed during pregnancy. Women with a history of vein disease in their family or who experience any swelling or pain in their legs during pregnancy are strongly urged to talk to their doctors about medical compression therapy.
Tingling, numbness, burning, or cramping in legs and feet – Since vein disease can cause serious circulation problems, your lower legs and feet may not be getting the oxygen they need. In essence, they may be “falling asleep” more often than usual, or suffering from muscle cramps.
Discoloration of the skin – Over time, leakage of blood into the area surrounding the veins can cause tissue to die. The resulting pooling of blood in the tissue causes a darkening of the skin. It is at this stage that the skin is actually stained by your own blood.
Open sores or ulcers on the lower leg – When Chronic Venous Insufficiency reaches its most serious point, ulcers may appear on the lower leg. These are the result of blood leaking into the leg tissue and damaging the skin.
History of vein problems in the family – There are many causes of vein disease, but the main one is heredity – the condition runs in families. If someone in your family suffers
from serious vein problems, you are at a higher than average risk. The earlier you take precautions and treat the problem, the better chance you have of avoiding serious complications.
How Compression Garments Help
It is easy to explain how a compression garment works: the pressure of the garment constricts the diameter of your vein. The venous valves can close again, thus reducing
the amount of blood flowing back down into your legs. The smaller diameter of the veins means that the blood flows more quickly again, which prevents the formation of blood clots or thrombi. The medically prescribed drop in pressure from the foot up to the thigh
accelerates the flow of blood back to the heart. When you move your leg, the garment
forms an external barrier for the muscles, which makes for a more effective muscle-
Wearing compression garments is generally not unpleasant. If you wear correctly fitted garments, they immediately have a noticeable pain relieving effect and help your legs stay healthy.
How to Get Started
Call our Nutrition Center today to find out more about our line of compression garments and whether compression therapy might be right for you.