How Do You Know if you Should be Looking Into Wearing Compression Stockings?
Contrary to popular belief, spider veins and varicosities are not merely a cosmetic problem. Such visible alterations in the appearance of our legs are signs that there may be changes taking place that are more than just skin deep. Your veins may be at risk for disease.
If left unattended, seemingly harmless spider veins and varicose veins can develop into a more serious condition known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). In simple terms, varicose veins and venous insufficiency are the result of valves inside the leg veins being defective or no longer functioning at all.
Consequently, blood is no longer efficiently pushed back up through the leg veins and begins to pool in the affected veins. In combination with the pull of gravity, this causes the veins to stretch and bulge more and more over time. As the veins become weaker they can also allow fluid to leak out into the surrounding tissue which can manifest itself with increased swelling of the legs and feet as you go about your day.
As with many illnesses, there are warning signs that should not be ignored. Unfortunately on a yearly basis only about 2 out of 30 Americans (approx. 6.5%) suffering with varicose veins actually seek treatment for this potentially serious condition.
You can be Proactive and Watch for Characteristic Symptoms of Vein Disease:
- Pain in the legs after long periods of sitting or standing
- Swollen feet and ankles at the end of the day
- Restless legs
- Spider veins
- Bulging (varicose) veins
- Leg cramps
- Tired and heavy feeling legs
- Aching or pain in the legs
- Skin discoloration on the legs
- Sore or ulcer on the legs
- Burning or numbness in the legs and feet
If any of these symptoms persist you should make an appointment to see your physician. Remember, venous insufficiency is a progressive condition. Therefore, early detection and treatment is your best line of defense against developing more serious vein problems.
Compression Stockings can make a Difference
Compression and support stockings are often the first step to control less severe symptoms. They are non-invasive therapy that can keep venous problems from progressing into more serious stages of venous disease. Graduated compression stockings, pantyhose or socks are specifically designed to optimize blood flow back up the legs and to prevent any pooling of blood in the legs.
Compression stockings won’t provide a cure but they can be a great help in managing the above described symptoms. Support and compression hosiery can only be effective if they are worn every day. They must be put on immediately before getting up and should be removed before going to sleep.
Changes in Daily Living can also be Helpful with Vein Issues
Anyone can be mindful to keep an eye on their blood pressure and body weight. Physical activity can be beneficial for veins and legs because it strengthens the muscles – in particular calf muscles, which assist in pumping blood back up the legs to the heart.
Finally Six Tips that can Benefit your Veins and are Easy to Implement:
- Elevate your feet higher than the heart when lying down
- Elevate your feet above thigh level when sitting
- Avoid long periods (hours) of sitting or standing motionless
- Don’t wear clothes that are too tight around the waist or legs
- Finish your shower or bath by rinsing your legs and feet with cold water
- Exercise regularly (e.g. walking, hiking, biking, swimming)
As always, before making any changes that could affect your health and well-being, be sure to schedule a visit with your health care provider first.
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