Are your legs swollen and heavy every night?
Are there considerable signs of varicose veins?
Then this could be the first sign, that you suffer from weak veins. Do not worry, these problems are highly treatable nowadays. Every second woman and every fourth man is suffering from this ailments due to chronic venous insufficiency. But what happens when there is a venous disorder in the body.
There are two types of blood transporting vessels in the organism: Arteries and veins. The veins are mostly responsible for the transport of oxygen-poor blood, from the muscle back to the heart. Thereby, these are more flexible than arteries, for example, and have also less muscle. Consequently, the leg veins are dependent on the pressure from the outside, to bring the blood back to the heart, against the gravitational force. This pressure is generated, primarily during walking and running, by the calf muscles. In a healthy organism, the return of the blood is prevented by so-called venous valves. These valves, which are arranged in regular structures in the vessels, allow the blood to pass in one direction only.
If the veins fail to close proberly, not all blood can be transported back from the legs. This triggers the swelling and possibly the pain.
Varicose veins are an annoying flaw. As such, they do not cause you pain nor can they cramp, as the name might suggest. However, a varicose vein practically never disappears and can also cause painful inflammation of the veins. Remains stagnant blood in the legs too long, it will coagulate and form, what is called a thrombus or an embolism. In the veins, it is not necessarily highly dangerous, but it may come off fragments or splinters of the thrombus and close narrow arteries in the brain, heart or lungs. These are then no longer capable of supplying the tissue with oxygen. In the worst case this leads to a heart attack or stroke.
Above all, bad nutrition and overweight are conducive to venous disease. The low-fibre diet in industrialised countries leads to poor digestion and constipation. This, as well as overweight literally presses on the veins and impedes the venous blood flow especially in the legs.
Often related to this is also a lack of exercise. Without movement, the muscle pump in the legs (see above) does not work proberly. Therefore, professions related to activities with long sitting or standing, such as truck drivers, office workers or pilots are also associated with increased risk.
- Venous disease in the family
- Older age
- Long flights
- Wearing constricting shoes and socks
- Weak connective tissue
A weakness of the veins does not necessarily lead to impaired quality of life. With only slightly pronounced discomfort, there are many simple ways at home for you to counteract. The most important, above all, is movement. By gently walking, cycling or swimmimg, the calf muscle is tensioned and therefore helps the muscle pump to promote the blood back upward. If, for example, a walk in the daily office routine is not possible, there is a simple exercise to make the calf muscles work. Therefore you press the heel firmly on the floor and lift your toes several times. Try to tense the calf as firmly as possible. Perform this exercise in the office or in the car several times a day and your legs will be much lighter at night. Often a simple shower with cold water helps the legs, both to reduce the swelling and the pain alike. The cold makes the veins in the tissue contract. Therefore, acute symptoms improve through cooling of any kind.
In advanced disease, these simple measures may not be enough.The most important basic treatment of venous weakness is always the compression stocking. These stockings do not deserve the bad image of the “rubber stockings” from long ago. Through modern technology, those compression stockings are much more comfortable to wear and they are also visually indistinguishable from other stockings.
The most important measure in compression therapy is a pressure gradient, tailored to the requirements of your legs. This is also the difference between medical stockings and “supermarket goods”. Each stocking is individually measured to your needs and even custom-made where required. The Igel-Apotheken take measurements for any type of compression stockings for you, whether on prescription or private (maximum charge € 10 with a medical prescription). As certified specialist vein centre, we work closely together with the company Belsana to create the perfect stocking for you.
In addition, there are also medical treatment options in form of gels or capsules. When taking extracts of horse chestnut or red wine leaves for an extended periode of time, the veins can be sealed from the inside in order to reduce blood stasis and swelling. We have a variety of vein creams or -gels available at our pharmacy. Feel free to approach us, we will find the best medication for you.