Varicose Vein Basics
A common condition that naturally progresses as patients get older, varicose veins affects approximately 25 million people throughout the United States. A normal, healthy vein includes a number of regularly spaced internal valves that allow blood to travel in one direction only. These valves serve a particularly important function in the lower extremities in order to bring blood from the feet and ankles upward through the legs and back to the heart.
Varicose veins develop when, through age or disease, veins begin to lose their elasticity and their internal valves fail to function properly. In other words, instead of closing after each pump of the heart, a varicose vein contains valves that refuse to close completely. As a result, blood naturally begins to pool in these veins under the natural effects of gravity. As blood pools, pressure builds in the vein, causing them to become enlarged, bulging, twisted, and discolored.
Symptoms and Health Risks
In addition to the cosmetic issues that varicose veins cause, they can also cause a great deal of aching, throbbing, and general discomfort. Both a cause and a symptom of venous insufficiency (lack of adequate blood flow), varicose veins go hand in hand with this harmful and potentially critical condition. Venous insufficiency can cause health issues that range from general leg cramping, fatigue, and pain, to skin ulcers, restless legs syndrome, and paresthesia (a numbness, prickling, or “pins and needles” sensation. In rare cases, venous disease can even lead to loss of limb.
The Benefits of Compression Stockings for Treating Varicose Veins
Elastic socks that firmly but gently cradle the feet, ankles, and lower legs, compression stockings apply pressure to veins and surrounding tissues to encourage upward blood flow and prevent the buildup of excess fluid. They secure the ankles most tightly, and gradually relax pressure as they travel up the legs.
Under the recommendation of a qualified vein care specialist at a certified vein center, patients can find a compression stocking with the exact pressure and design to meet their particular medical needs. While improving blood flow and decreasing the accumulation of blood in the lower extremities, compression stockings can help relieve all of the above symptoms as they relate to varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
What to Do
The unsightly and painful effects of varicose veins and venous insufficiency can be treated with compression stockings as part of a comprehensive treatment plan under the direction of a skilled and knowledgable vein specialist. To find out more about the benefits of compression stockings, contact Dr. Chris Pittman and the Tampa, Florida vein care specialists at Vein911 Vein Treatment Centers.