Varicose veins aren’t just unsightly – they also have the potential to be very uncomfortable, leading to aches and pains in the areas where they form. Being that they’re fairly common in aging adults – it’s estimated that about 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men have some sort of vein issue by age 50, and this number just increases with age – many people choose to live with them and deal with the inconvenience rather than have them properly treated. One of the reasons for this is that people atempt to find the least painful varicose vein treatment, and might accidentally come across vein stripping – an outdated practice. But with today’s advanced, minimally invasive procedures, there’s a better, easier and more convenient way to successfully treat vein issues. Here’s a closer look:
Not long ago, a practice known as “vein stripping” was the most popular way for treating varicose veins. This is a surgical procedure that involves making incisions in the area of the skin where the vein is located and then attaching the vein to a special metal or plastic wire so that it can then be essentially removed from the body. Typically, patients are required to stay in the hospital for at least one night following the procedure, and side effects such as post-op bleeding and nerve injuries in the area that was treated are potential complications. While this was the typical treatment of the past for vein issues, today there are far better options with faster recovery times, including laser ablation and foam injection. Below we briefly discuss some of the least painful varicose vein treatments available.
Compared to vein stripping, laser ablation is much less invasive and the recovery times are much faster. Laser ablation is an outpatient procedure that consists of administering a laser to the affected area in an effort to essentially close down any troublesome veins. There’s minimal discomfort following the treatment and patients can normally return to normal activities the next day, though they’ll have to protect the area by wearing a compression for several weeks.
This is another minimally invasive treatment that consists injecting a foam directly into the affected vein, which works to close it. Following the injection, blood will reroute through a patient’s healthy veins, eliminating the unsightly varicose vein in time. This is another outpatient treatment with a fast recovery time.
It all depends on the patient. Both are minimally invasive procedures with minimal post-treatment discomfort and fast recovery times, but the best procedure for a particular patient will depend on their specific varicose vein situation. Know that there are also options available to reduce discomfort both during and following the procedure to make it more overall convenient for the patient. We recommend that you consult with your vein doctor to determine the treatment that’s right for you.
For more information on laser ablation and foam injection treatments for varicose veins, schedule an appointment with Vein911 today. As experienced, professional vein doctors in Clearwater, Florida, veins are all we do. Contact us to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment.
Pelvic varicose veins can cause serious problems. In addition to lower quality of life, debilitating pain, weakening of muscles in the affected area, the varicose veins could end up causing lasting problems that affect your overall health. Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS), also known as ovarian vein reflux is a problem that plagues about 13-40% of women that suffer from chronic pelvic pain. PCS is also assumed to be associated with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome.
The exact root causes of PCS aren’t quite clear, but the consensus among many healthcare providers is that enlarged veins in the lower abdomen is the reason why women suffer from this long-term condition. With that, having given birth to more than one child may also increase the risk of developing PCS, along with other hereditary and congenital conditions.
Hormones are the main suspected reason behind vasodilation (veins being wider or enlarged). Estrogen can have this effect on the body, and it is potentially one reason why this condition is less common after menopause, as the body’s estrogen levels are significantly lower post-menopause. While other hormones might also play a role in PCS, they are not yet as well- known or researched as yet.
One of the most common symptoms are aching sensations and fullness in the legs. This is because blood pools in the extremities due to twisted veins. Worsened pain after long periods of inactivity or remaining in a stressful position can also be accompanied by cramps and throbbing sensations in the veins and the surrounding muscle.
One of the more dangerous symptoms of varicose veins is itching. When patients suffer from itching episodes, their instinctive reaction is to scratch. However, due to the fact that varicose veins are near the surface of the skin and are more exposed than other underlying veins, the combination of sharp fingernails and the increased pressure from scratching could cause the vein to rupture. If a congested vein such as this bursts, the results can be dramatic, resulting in a hemorrhage of pooled blood and blood from the bloodstream. Untreated, this can pose significant health risks.
In particular, women with PCS may feel a constant pain that is dull and aching but becomes more acute at times. This can happen when changing your posture, before and after having sex, or due to standing for long periods. With PCS you, may experience abnormal pain prior to or during menstruation, sudden urges to use the bathroom, and similar to varicose veins elsewhere, which include enlarged and distorted veins on the buttocks, thighs and external genitalia.
We’re here to make finding treatment easier. Vein911 exists to serve the Greater Tampa region in Florida. Cutting-edge treatments are done at Vein911’s treatment center, which include the endovenous laser treatment, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, visual sclerotherapy, and VeinGogh treatments, all of which are minimally invasive and almost pain-free. Thorough evaluations and accurate assessments and diagnoses are created for each patient in order to provide the best care. If you suffer from varicose veins or suspect that you do, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with Vein911 as soon as possible. You can also learn more about our practice here today!
Sclerotherapy lets vein doctors inject special medication into veins, so they collapse and disappear. Spider vein treatments and varicose vein procedures that involve sclerotherapy are mostly pain-free. What happens after the treatment, though? Will you be able to return to your normal life? Here’s what you shouldn’t do after your Sclerotherapy Procedure.
To answer that question, first, you must have a better understanding of how sclerotherapy works and what to expect from it.
With a sclerotherapy treatment, a physician injects an irritating solution into a diseased vein. The medication causes the vein to swell, and eventually, it loses blood flow. When that happens, the body will automatically reroute the blood, and the vein will collapse and disappear.
Some people experience mild side effects after the treatment near the injection site, such as:
None of these issues should interfere with daily life, though. Deciding when to get a cosmetic vein treatment is both a personal decision and a medical one, so talk to a doctor if to see if it’s right for you.
It will vary from patient to patient. On average, veins fade within a few weeks. It may be a month to see the full effect, though. Large varicose veins may take a few months to disappear.
Sclerotherapy completely obliterates the treated vein, so it does last. It only works on the treated areas, though. Having this procedure done does not mean you won’t develop more diseased veins. The physician will talk to you about ways to prevent the problem and keep your veins healthy to reduce the risk.
You should follow whatever instructions your vein doctor provides. For most, that will include normal activities within a couple of hours of the treatment, including returning to work, as long as your job is not too strenuous.
The doctor will likely suggest you walk around some to help improve the circulation in the legs and promote healing.
It might be beneficial for some to wear compression stockings, but it is not a requirement for every patient. The doctor will discuss this option with you and let you know if it is appropriate.
For the most part, you can expect to return to your normal activities. There are a few restrictions for patients who undergo sclerotherapy, though. The doctor will recommend that you avoid:
Although rare, there can be complications with sclerotherapy such as:
Since allergies are possible, tell your physician if you have had a reaction to a similar treatment in the past and of any known allergies.
If you have varicose veins, now is an excellent time to meet our vein physicians in Florida at Vein911 Vein Treatment Center.
Varicose veins are more than just unsightly: they can be seriously painful. And for those of us living in Florida, the summer heat can make the problem worse. But why exactly does the heat of a Florida summer increase sensations of pain and achiness in the legs?
In today’s post, we get to the bottom of this question. Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with varicose veins, if you have painful leg veins and live in a climate where the summers are hot, you’ll want to know the answer to this question.
Have you ever noticed that your face gets red when you exercise or spend time out in the heat? You may have thought the redness just means you’re feeling warm, but there’s a lot more to it.
This is the process of vasodilation: the veins in your face are dilating, or expanding, to increase blood flow to the surface of your skin. It’s one of the ways that your body cools itself in an effort to regulate its temperature.
Your varicose veins are already dilated more than normal veins. More blood flows to them than the surrounding normal veins. So when the heat kicks in and tells your body to start the vasodilation process, even more blood rushes to those already-dilated veins. And that’s one of the causes of your extra leg pain.
With the longer days and more opportunities for entertaining, many of us are on our feet more in the summer as well. This can lead to even more blood pooling in the legs and (you guessed it) even more aches and pains.
If you’re looking for relief, here are several suggested remedies you can do on your own at home:
Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful, but they usually aren’t dangerous. There is one concern to watch out for, though, and it’s made worse by the summer heat: spontaneous bleeding.
People with varicose veins will accumulate more blood stays near the surface of the skin than others will. They are at greater risk of bleeding from small scrapes and abrasions, and sometimes they will bleed under the skin without any obvious trigger.
Mild bleeding can be covered as you normally would a cut or scrape. But more severe bleeding (or mild bleeding that won’t stop) will require a trip to your doctor.
Follow the tips in the previous section to reduce your chances of spontaneous bleeding.
The good news is that you don’t have to move to Canada to escape the summer heat and the painful leg veins that come with it. Help is available right here in Florida. If you’re looking for help with your varicose veins, you might want to Meet Our Vein Physicians in Florida.
And if you’re ready to get help today, you can schedule an appointment at Vein911 Vein Treatment Center right away.
You Need a Certified Vein Specialist in Tampa – Not Just a MediSPA.
If you’re deciding when to get varicose vein treatment, you have a lot going through your mind. You already imagine how a vein specialist can help you meet your leg goals. You’re looking forward to wearing shorts this summer without worries. And the reduction in leg discomfort and heaviness will be a welcome relief.
While it’s important to consider how having a vein procedure can transform your life, it’s vital to ask the right questions before the procedure. Are you a good candidate? What kinds of varicose vein before and afters can you expect? Put these five questions on that list.
Put these seven questions on that list.
When you ask this, do they say, “no” or try to change the subject? Let’s stop right there. The vein industry has seen massive innovation in just the past 10-20 years. The availability of older technologies and the ease with which people who aren’t certified can use newer technologies has opened up the industry to non-certified and very poorly trained individuals.
Whether your leg goals are more cosmetic or just about comfort, the legs are essential. They’re how you get around. And you care what they look like.
Your vein care specialist in Tampa, Florida, should be skilled in both diagnosing various vein conditions and performing the best varicose vein treatment options for your situation. They have many to choose from.
Look for a varicose vein specialist who has:
Centers that perform vein procedures, along with many other types of methods, cannot be correctly called vein care specialists. A specialist is highly specialized and skilled in designated procedures. And this matters because when a specialist does a few types of similar methods repeatedly, they hone their skill to deliver the best solutions for managing varicose veins.
A vein care specialist in Tampa, Florida, should be well-aware of their success and rates for the particular procedure you will have. If you ask this, be on the lookout for fast talkers who try to distract from the fact that their skill leaves many patients unhappy with their results.
A vein procedure isn’t just one solution. Depending on the vein symptoms, along with overall health, lifestyle, and other factors, one or another procedure may be the best option for you. A vein specialist should be able to present these options and explain why a particular one is indicated based upon your unique patient profile.
These might include:
Everyone feels pain differently, but most patients experience minimal discomfort or temporary side effects from vein procedures. Each of the vein procedures above is minimally-invasive and requires very little downtime. These procedures have come a long way since the days when a vein treatment was an open surgical procedure.
Today, tools like endoscopes, ultrasound, and laser make vein procedures less disruptive to your life, so you heal more quickly and get to start enjoying your own before and after.
Our Tampa, Florida vein care specialists are certified in the procedures they perform. They perform several of these procedures a day, so they know what they’re doing and have very high individual and practice success rates. They work under the direct supervision of our fully-certified medical director, who is a Board Member, American Vein, and Lymphatic Society.
Meet Our Vein Physicians in Florida at Vein911 Vein Treatment Center. We’re here to answer any questions and help you begin your vein health journey.
Although varicose veins overwhelmingly affect older people, those enlarged leg veins can appear much earlier in life, even in your 20s. While age is a huge factor in who develops varicose veins, it’s still only one factor. Genetics and lifestyle also play a deciding role in the development of varicose veins — at any age.
If varicose veins pop up on your legs in your 20s, there’s probably a good explanation for it. A visit with a vein specialist can help you understand what is causing the condition, your risk factors, and how to treat and prevent varicose veins.
The Top Reasons Young People Develop Varicose Veins
Besides age, many factors increase the likelihood you’ll develop varicose veins. The underlying venous insufficiency associated with varicose veins directly relates to the valves in your veins. These tiny flaps thrust blood back to the heart. But if the valves malfunction and fail to pump blood, the blood accumulates in the vein. This backlog of blood then pushes the vein out from under the skin, causing varicose veins to appear.
So if varicose veins develop in your 20s, they’re probably caused by defective vein valves, which could occur due to these five factors — no matter your age.
1) Heredity. Unfortunately, a tendency toward varicose veins can be inherited. If your parents and grandparents had them, your chances of getting them rise. If you know you have a family history of varicose veins, you can work with a specialist who can help you delay the onset of the condition and discuss treatment options.
2) Lifestyle. Obesity and lack of exercise rank high on the list of factors that cause varicose veins. The extra pressure those excess pounds put on your veins weakens the delicate vein walls, leading to varicose veins. When you don’t exercise, your calf muscles also lose strength, which makes them less able to assist the veins as they pump blood back to the heart. Changing your lifestyle with healthy eating habits and exercises — especially workouts that strengthen the calves, like jogging and swimming — can help manage your weight and strengthen your leg muscles.
3) Pregnancy. In advance of the birth of your baby, your body produces more blood to support both you and the fetus. However, this surge of blood overtaxes the veins, which may already be strained by the weight of the growing baby. Further, the hormone progesterone released during pregnancy relaxes the vein walls, meaning they can no longer hold the volume of blood. Pregnancy-related varicose veins typically disappear within 12 weeks after delivery. While you’re pregnant, you can alleviate the symptoms by wearing tight-fitting compression stockings and elevating your legs above your heart a few times each day.
4) Medications. Birth control pills contain estrogen, which, similar to the pregnancy hormone progesterone, dilates the vein walls. Less elastic vein walls may allow blood to pool and stretch the veins, causing varicose veins to emerge.
5) Occupation. People who work in occupations that demand long hours sitting at a desk or standing — teacher, nurse, office desk jobs — tend to have sluggish circulation in their legs. When blood flow slows, it stagnates in the veins and creates an ideal situation for varicose veins to form. Stimulate your circulation by taking frequent walks around the office or doing simple exercises, like flexing your ankles when seated. Wearing compression stockings that squeeze the veins also aids in keeping blood flowing.
We Treat Varicose Veins
At Vein911 Vein Treatment Center, we’re the experts in diagnosing and treating varicose veins. We offer a variety of minimally invasive therapies that will eliminate your varicose veins and the discomfort they bring. At any age, treatment is your best option for a pain-free life. Contact us today for an appointment.
It’s an epidemic among the older crowd: varicose veins. While they are relatively benign in most cases, these protruding veins can look rather nasty and sometimes even cause an aching pain from the pooling of blood inside of the vein. You should consider Endovenous Laser Treatment to get rid of them, we’ll go into more detail below!
While not usually considered dangerous, living with varicose veins can leave patients feeling insecure about how they look; not to mention too tired and achy to enjoy life to its fullest. It’s time to get up and do something about it! Get rid of those varicose veins in a single afternoon.
You can get your varicose veins treated in the Tampa Bay area at Vein911!
Varicose veins are inevitable with age, right? Wrong! There’s no need to live with those protruding veins. They can be fixed – but how? Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is a minimally invasive treatment options that uses a radio frequency laser to cauterize – and close – any leaking veins to keep them from becoming swollen and protrude from the skin.
Not everyone suffering from varicose veins needs to undergo laser vein treatment; but it can be a good option for those who are experiencing the following:
A fairly simple procedure that takes about an hour, ELVT doesn’t hurt and allows patients to head back home within a few hours. Of course, preparing for any type of procedure is important to guarantee the best outcome. Before your procedure be sure to:
A relatively quick procedure (most patients are only at the clinic about three hours before being released), Endovenous Laser Treatment does still require some degree of aftercare. While your health care provider will give you a detailed list of instructions, here are some basics to prepare for:
In most cases, EVLT patients are up and around doing normal activities within a d ay or two. It takes 7-10 days to completely heal from the procedure, but many people can actually return to work right away. It is usually advised that you take it easy the day of the procedure, but in most cases can return to work the following day as long as you don’t do a lot of standing or lifting.
About a week after the procedure, your doctor will schedule an ultrasound to check for healing and blood clots. In the absence of any problems, most patients are given the go ahead to return to all normal activities at that time.
There really is no reason to live with the physical effects and unsightly look of varicose veins. With endovenous vein treatment, you can completely rid your legs of those lumpy, swollen and discolored veins, returning your legs to their previous smoothness in a single treatment. Fill out an online patient form today and schedule an appointment at Vein911 Vein Treatment Center with one of our Tampa, Clearwater, Largo or Wesley Chapel office locations.
At Vein911 in the Greater Tampa Bay Area of Florida, we understand many of you are worried about how to treat this serious vein disease. Many local emergency rooms may be flooded with dozens if not hundreds of patients that are suffering from COVID-19. For the next 2 or so months, hundreds of more people will be diagnosed with Coronavirus and treated for it. Unfortunately, DVT is often deadly within one month of diagnosis without proper treatment.
Do yourself a favor and keep you and your loved ones safe! Vein911 of Tampa, Florida is here for you, providing you clean offices and peace of mind. Since we’re a private practice, we don’t house those who are highly sick and contagious. The last place you want to be is a crowded hospital!
Learn more about DVT below.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical problem in which a blood clot develops or even blocks a blood vessel deep within the tissue. Specifically, DVTs develop in veins, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from the far reaches of your body back to your heart. You are most likely to develop these blood clots in your thigh, pelvis or lower leg, but dangerous DVTs can also form in your arm.
Also known as venous thromboembolism, DVT is common. Scientists do not know exactly how many people develop DVT each year, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that these blood clots could affect as many as 900,000 people in the United States each year, which works out to about 1 to 2 people out of every 1,000 Americans.
While anyone can develop DVT, some factors can increase the risk of developing this type of vein blood clots. These risk factors include:
Venous thromboembolism can be life threatening, especially when the blood clot breaks free from its location. Once loose, the blood clot can travel into the right side of the heart and then into a lung, in a condition known as pulmonary embolism. The clot can prevent blood from flowing into the lung, which is life threatening.
Approximately 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die of DVT/PE, and 10 to 30 percent of those with DVT/PE will die within a month of receiving their diagnosis. Many patients do not realize they have a pulmonary embolism – only about half experience symptoms, according to the CDC. In fact, sudden death is the first symptom in about one-quarter of those with PE.
About one-third of those with DVT will have long-term complications, known as post-thrombotic syndrome. These complications can include pain, swelling, discoloration, and scaling of the skin in the affected limb. Blood clots can also cause chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a disease in which the veins do not work properly.
Anyone can develop venous thromboembolism, so it is important to know the symptoms of DVT. When symptoms occur, they can include:
However, sometimes people may not experience symptoms that give warning signs of when to see a doctor.
Only a doctor has the tools and education to diagnose deep vein thrombosis, as other conditions can present signs and symptoms similar to DVT.
Physicians diagnose DVT and rule out other conditions by taking a detailed history, performing a physical exam, and doing a venous ultrasound or other tests. Doctors consider the patient’s age, whether swelling is present and if that swelling is getting better or worse, the patient’s mobility, and if the patient has a family history of blood clots or a personal history of previous DVTs, blood clots, cancer, injury, stroke, or surgery.
Next, doctors perform a physical exam of the legs. They look for signs of swelling, the presence of visible varicose veins, tenderness of the calf or thigh, skin redness, or signs of chronic venous insufficiency.
Physicians then perform a venous ultrasound, which is a non-invasive imaging test that can help doctors determine if a clot is present inside the vein. Doctors prescribe deep vein thrombosis treatment based on what they find in the patient’s history, exam, and ultrasound.
Medical treatment, along with the body’s own healing process, can cure deep vein thrombosis.
Treatment for deep vein thrombosis typically involves medications, the use of compression stockings, and lifestyle changes. DVT treatment may sometimes involve the surgical placement of a special filter in the vein just below the heart, which prevents clots from moving into the lungs. Doctors may even recommend thrombolysis, a surgical procedure in which the surgeon threads a catheter through the vein into the clot, and then inject drugs that dissolve the clot; the surgeon may use a tool to vacuum out the clot, and insert a balloon or stent to hold the treated vein open.
Doctors treat blood clots with blood thinning medication, known as anticoagulants, which decrease your blood’s ability to clot. These anticoagulants, such as Heparin, Lovenox, Eliquis, Xarelto and Coumadin, can also prevent new clots from forming. However, these “blood thinners” do not immediately break up existing clots – only thrombolysis and the body’s natural systems can dissolve blood clots. Most patients with a first-time DVT are on anticoagulants for three months; some patients need to stay on anticoagulation therapy for life to prevent the development of more blood clots.
Doctors frequently recommend the use of compression stockings that squeeze the calf to promote blood flow, which can help stop new blood clots from forming. Lifestyle changes include increasing exercise to stimulate circulation and prevent the formation of new clots.
The best treatment for deep vein thrombosis depends on a variety of factors, such as the severity and location of the blood clots, and your personal health history. Finding the right vein treatment is as easy as getting a recommendation from a qualified vein doctor.
For more information about venous thromboembolism, consult with a Vein911 Vein Treatment Center Florida vein doctor about diagnosing and treating deep vein thrombosis.
Varicose veins are twisted, painful, bluish veins on the legs, hands, and groin area that bulge beneath the surface of the skin. When blood vessels aren’t strong enough to push blood up and outward through the body, the blood falls back down into the vein and pools there, which causes the veins to swell. At best, varicose veins are an uncomfortable cosmetic issue. At worst, they are symptomatic of more serious health complications like venous insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Varicose vein sufferers know they need to have their veins treated as soon as possible, but they often don’t know what the best vein removal treatment is. What’s more, it can be difficult to find trustworthy information. Here’s everything you need to know about the best way to treat varicose veins.
Medical professionals began using vein stripping to treat varicose veins as early as 1905, but the surgical treatment didn’t reach widespread use until the 1960s. During this procedure, the doctor made small incisions along the groin or thigh, inserted a small wire into the greater saphenous vein, and pulled the affected vein from the body.
This vein treatment has largely fallen out of practice because it can be very painful and have many negative side effects like scarring, infection at the incision site, and heavy bleeding. In the worst cases, varicose veins reopened soon after stripping or ultimately became worse.
Phlebectomy, still in use in some offices today, is a procedure similar to vein stripping that removes visible veins. This makes it more effective for treating the cosmetic side effects of varicose veins. Unfortunately, since phlebectomy only treats the visible veins, the procedure sometimes misses the invisible branch and varicose veins that cause deeper issues. Phlebectomy can cause bleeding, infection, hematoma, and even nerve damage.
Research has found that painful vein treatments like vein stripping and phlebectomy aren’t always completely effective. According to a 2012 study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, 60% of patients see a recurrence of varicose veins within five years of the procedure.
When thermal ablation first became available, many vein specialists thought it would revolutionize vein removal treatment for years to come. This procedure uses a laser or high-frequency radio waves to inject heat into the affected vein. The heat closes up the damaged vein but leaves it in place so it can be reabsorbed into the body — no painful stripping required, and no bleeding.
Still, thermal ablation isn’t perfect. In addition to the possibility of bruising and nerve damage, the extreme heat from thermal ablation can cause burns and skin discoloration around the treated vein. A 2014 study in the Scientific World Journal found that varicose veins recurred after thermal ablation within three years of the procedure. Thermal ablation surpasses vein stripping and phlebectomy in terms of safety and painlessness, but it’s still not the best vein removal treatment available.
Thermal ablation is most effective when combined with ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS), the best procedure for fast, non-surgical, and minimally-invasive vein removal. UGFS stands out from other vein treatments because it’s the only one that attacks all kinds of damaged veins — visible, invisible, branch, and varicose veins.
During this procedure, the doctor first uses an ultrasound wand to locate the affected vein and determine where exactly the needle will be placed. Then, they will inject the damaged vein with sclerosant foam to close it and restore healthy blood flow. Patients can walk immediately after the procedures, resume normal activities in a few days, and should fully see results in about two weeks. In addition to improving the appearance of the legs, UGFS also effectively relieves painful symptoms of varicose veins and vein disease.
When it comes to vein removal treatments for painful varicose veins, there’s no competition — ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy offers patients lasting relief. If you’re interested in learning more about UGFS and want a professional opinion, contact the vein experts at Vein911 Vein Treatment Center. Our team of specialists will answer any questions you have about the procedure and help you feel great again!
While billed as being a safer alternative to tobacco products, vaping might still come with its own set of health concerns when it comes to vein health.
If your vein health is a concern, you may already know that smoking can worsen your condition. Of course, smoking is unhealthy for many reasons — according to the Center for Disease Control, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Medical professionals have known for a long time that smoking tobacco is bad for your lungs and can lead to a variety of severe conditions, from lung disease to several different types of cancer. But it’s also true that smoking takes a toll on your circulation, including arteries and veins.
You may be curious if vaping is a better choice than smoking when it comes to vein health. When electronic cigarettes came onto the scene, they were billed as being a safer alternative to tobacco-based products because they don’t involve combustion, the process that creates the harmful tar that builds up in the lungs over time. However, it’s not yet clear whether vaping is a better choice for your circulatory system. Here’s what we currently know about how smoking and vaping affect vein health.
Effects of Smoking on Vein Health
Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic. The most well known of these chemicals is nicotine, which, in addition to causing addiction, is a stimulant that increases blood pressure. Nicotine also triggers the release of cholesterol into the bloodstream, which hardens blood vessels and arteries.
The chemicals in tobacco products also increase the risk of developing venous diseases by reducing both the levels of oxygen in the blood and causing the blood to become thicker — a combination that can lead to the formation of spider and varicose veins.
The veins in your legs help to maintain and regulate proper blood flow throughout the body, and while varicose veins can be painful or make you self-conscious, they also restrict the circulation of blood returning to the heart. If left untreated, this can even lead to ulcerations on the legs.
Effects of Vaping on Vein Health
Many people have made the switch to e-cigarettes because they recognize the health hazards of smoking. But while the health hazards of smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products are well documented, the potential risks of vaping and e-cigarettes, on the other hand, are still relatively unknown. This fact came to national attention in 2019 when more than 2,500 people across the country were hospitalized with vaping-related illnesses.
While the majority of those illnesses and death were traced back to the presence of Vitamin E acetate — a thickening agent in the vaping cartridges that the FDA says is “prudent to avoid inhaling” — that doesn’t mean that e-cigarettes in general are off the hook. The ingredients in e-cigarettes vary by brand and flavoring, but the two primary ingredients are propylene glycol and glycerol — chemicals that are known to become toxic when heated to high temperatures.
But does this mean vaping degrades vein health? More research is needed, but one recent study did find that vaping causes temporarily impaired circulation, less oxygenated blood, and stiffer arteries. This “toxic immune response” in the endothelium, or the lining of the blood vessels, occurs even when the e-cigarettes were free of nicotine. Overall, vaping constricts blood vessels and disrupts how the cardiovascular system functions. When blood flow is slowed in this way, it can lead to pooling blood, which is directly associated with varicose vein formation. However, note that these studies showed only momentary drops in vein function — there is not yet data on the long-term impact vaping has on circulation.
Quitting for Vein Health
If you smoke or vape, you should stay informed about the effects your habit may have on your vein health. If you’re looking for a consultation about vein health — and solutions for existing varicose veins — contact us today to make an appointment. At Vein911 Vein Treatment Center, the teams of experienced specialists at each of our four locations can help you understand which minimally invasive procedure might be the best fit for your condition.