Mental Health + Vein Health: Do's and Don'ts
Vein diseases are frequent among the population and predominantly affect women. These illnesses are generally easy to treat and rarely life-threatening. Understanding the nature of the disease can help people change their lifestyle and possibly avoid or reduce the symptoms of the condition. This post will help you know what factors cause vein disease and what you should or should not do to improve the condition of your veins. Also, you will understand the importance of consulting a vein specialist as soon as the first symptoms appear.
What is the importance of veins?
Understanding venous illness requires knowledge of vein functions and structure. Blood vessels in the circulatory system include arteries, lymphatics, and veins. Each of these vessels has different functions. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the tissues, lymphatic vessels carry protein-rich fluid, and veins return blood from the tissues to the heart. The human body has more veins than arteries.
Veins carry poorly oxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs so that the blood is reoxygenated. Muscle contractions cause the blood to move passively and return to the heart.
Structure of the veins
The passive blood movement in the veins causes a backward flow of blood. But, veins have valves that prevent blood from backing up, and some veins maintain the flow in only one direction. These types of veins are found mainly in the legs. The veins in the legs have many valves because the blood must go against gravity, which means more effort to return the blood from the legs back to the heart.
In the upper body, blood does not flow against gravity, so transport is faster and requires less effort. It is why varicose veins are more common in the legs than elsewhere in the body.
When do vein problems arise?
When the veins cannot efficiently return blood to the heart, problems arise in the blood system. In general, these problems occur in the valves. If the valves malfunction, blood concentrates in the legs, deforming the structure of the veins. These deformations appear as bulges and swelling, causing the veins to grow in size and protrude from the skin.
What types of vein diseases are there?
Vein disorders fall into two categories: blockage by blood clots (thrombosis) or venous insufficiency. Generally, the first type of disorder is the most severe and life-threatening.
The formation of blood clots occurs mainly in the legs. Among the factors that make a person more prone to suffer from this disease are: a family history of blood problems, prolonged inactivity, cancer, and the use of contraceptives.
- Superficial thrombosis: is the formation of clots in the superficial veins of the skin. The vein affected by a clot becomes inflamed, and a red streak may be seen. This vein is tender and warm to the touch due to the accumulation of blood.
Generally, this disease does not pose a danger because the likelihood of the clot breaking off and traveling to the lungs is minimal. One of the factors that cause a greater propensity to suffer from this disease is cancer. Treatment for superficial thrombosis is based on the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or the application of moist heat. On some occasions, anticoagulants are administered to the patient.
- Deep vein thrombosis: Corresponds to the formation of clots in the deep veins of the legs. Clots in these veins are dangerous because they can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a blockage. This condition is known as pulmonary embolism, and people have life-threatening shortness of breath. It is difficult to diagnose this disease because not all people present symptoms. Ultrasounds are needed to determine the clots' presence and receive immediate treatment.
The presence of a clot, inadequate blood flow, or some deformation in the structure of the veins causes venous insufficiency. This type of disease is classified as superficial (varicose veins) or deep (chronic venous insufficiency).
- Varicose veins. These are veins that change their appearance due to the accumulation of blood. They usually swell and protrude from the skin and have irregular shapes. These veins have weak walls, which causes the valves to malfunction. Because of these changes in the structure of the veins, the blood backs up and pools. Women are more likely to have varicose veins than men, and they are more common in the legs than elsewhere in the body.
- Chronic venous insufficiency. It occurs when blood flow in the deep veins is inadequate over time. In this condition, the vein walls and valves do not function properly, and the veins remain full of blood.
What are the factors that promote vein disease?
- Being a woman
- Family history of blood problems
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Tall stature
- Blood vessel injury
- History of Blood Clots
What are the most common symptoms of vein disease?
- Heaviness in the legs
- Night cramps
- Swelling and irritation in the legs
- Feeling of warmth in the legs
- Changes in structure and coloration in the legs
What to do to have veins in good condition?
- Exercise. Movement encourages muscle contractions and promotes proper blood flow.
- Keep a healthy weight. It will keep body fat from pressing on veins and impeding blood circulation.
- Elevate your legs after prolonged inactivity. It will prevent blood flow from flowing against gravity, reducing the effort required to return blood to the heart.
- Eat foods that improve blood circulation. Incorporate in your diet foods rich in:
- Antioxidants: are compounds that delay the degradation of vein walls and prevent inflammation. You can find these compounds in grapes, blackberries, and blueberries.
- Bioflavonoids have an anti-inflammatory and draining effect that repairs blood vessels. Fruits and vegetables with a bluish or reddish color, such as figs, blackberries, and currants, are rich in flavonoids.
- Lycopene: promote blood circulation. Watermelon is rich in lycopene.
- Vitamin C: helps the formation of collagen, an essential component in the structure of blood vessels. This vitamin is found in kiwi and citrus fruits in general.
- Vitamin E: fights the symptoms of venous insufficiencies, such as cramps and heaviness in the legs. You can find this vitamin in avocado or pineapple.
- Drink enough water. Water facilitates blood circulation and purifies the body of substances harmful to the circulatory system.
- Avoid constipation. The continuous pressure on the abdomen and overexertion cause the walls of the veins to weaken and deform, causing the appearance of varicose veins.
- Massage your legs. Gentle massages stimulate blood circulation, prevent cramps and reduce the symptoms of people with varicose veins. Only a specialist should perform massages to avoid possible injuries.
- Visit a vein specialist. When the first symptoms appear, going to a specialist as soon as possible could mean an early improvement and prevent the disease from worsening.
If you are in the Phoenix area, you should consider seeking the help of a varicose veins clinic in Phoenix. Early detection and treatment are key to keeping varicose veins from progressing, so it's important to take action right away.
What not to do?
- Maintain a sedentary lifestyle. Sedentism reduces muscular contractions that increase blood flow, causing blood to pool in the lower part of the body and deforming the vein anatomy.
- Prolonged periods of sitting or standing. It causes the veins to overexert themselves in returning blood to the heart. As a result, the veins may become deformed and form varicose veins.
- Not taking care of body weight. When a person is overweight or obese, the accumulated fat puts more pressure on the veins. Fat accumulation makes muscular contractions more difficult and causes blood to pool.
- Smoking. Nicotine, a component in cigarettes, promotes the formation of blood clots. Blood circulation is reduced, and veins become twisted, resulting in varicose veins.
- Excessive sugar consumption. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and worsen symptoms in patients with varicose veins.
- Wearing tight-fitting clothing. This type of clothing hinders blood circulation and encourages vein disorders.
- Eating foods high in sodium. Sodium causes the body to retain fluids and increases blood volume and swelling in the legs. Avoid eating fast food, sausages, and canned foods.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol causes fluid retention in the stomach and legs because it inhibits the production of white and red blood cells.
- Do not visit a vein specialist if you have any symptoms. In most cases, vein diseases are not life-threatening. But, symptoms do not cure themselves and may worsen if not treated. Avoid complications and see a specialist to improve the health of your legs and reduce your symptoms. If you have any vein disease, you must know that there are currently a wide variety of minimally invasive and painful treatments.
What treatments are available to treat vein disease?
- Use of compression stockings
- Implantation of a small filter
- Anticoagulant medication
- Laser therapy
- Surgical ligation (tying off) and removal (stripping) of the varicose vein
Veins are a very important part of your body, so keeping them healthy is critical. Minor modifications in your lifestyle might help you avoid or postpone vascular disease. Remember that it is essential to pay attention to any changes in your body and that early detection can prevent the condition from progressing. As soon as you notice any symptoms, consult a vein specialist; they are qualified to answer any questions regarding your illness.