Leg Health Information
People all over the world struggle with leg problems. About 90% of these people's problems stem from disorders that originate within the veins.
Do you have tired, aching legs?
Do your legs and ankles swell?
Do you see what appears to be the onset of varicose veins?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then now is the time to learn how to improve your vein health.
Vein problems shouldn't be ignored and can progressively worsen over time. If neglected, vein problems can affect your health for the rest of your life.
Arteries, Veins and Blood Flow...
The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood through the arteries and into tiny capillaries where body cells exchange the oxygen for carbon dioxide. The blood then enters the veins, which carry the blood back to the heart. But pumping the blood efficiently through the veins in the legs back to the heart is a challenge because, by the time the blood enters the veins, the force pushing the blood in the veins has become weak and the blood must fight gravity on its way up the legs back to the heart.
There are two types of veins in the legs: the surface or superficial veins and the deep veins. Venous blood in the surface veins empties into the deep veins, which take the blood back to the heart. The body has two important ways to help blood move up the legs. The first is with the help of calf muscles. These muscles surround the deep veins and contract and relax as a person walks, rhythmically squeezing the deep veins and acting as a “second heart” to push venous blood up the veins. The second way venous blood is returned to the heart is by one-way valves in both the surface and deep veins. When the calf muscles contract, these valves open to allow blood to flow back to the heart, and when calf muscles relax they close to prevent blood from flowing backwards into the lower part of the vein. These valves are fragile and are easily damaged.
Common Vein Disorders
Varicose veins is one of the most common venous disorders. Varicose veins are visibly enlarged veins that are often bluish in color and may appear twisted. They are caused by the pooling of blood in a damaged vein and can be painful, or they may not cause any discomfort at all. In the early stages of varicose veins, the legs may feel tired, tense, restless, tingling, heavy, cramped, or achy.
Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein wall, and is the most common problem associated with varicose veins. Symptoms can include swelling, redness, and heat in the irritated area; superficial veins becoming more noticeable; pain or discomfort over the involved area.
Superficial Thrombophlebitis is a blood clot in a superficial (surface) vein that can be caused by irritation or are similar to, but more severe than, those associated with phlebitis.
A Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins, which can have life-threatening consequences. About 25% of DVTs move away from the deep veins where they form and flow through the bloodstream to the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, and can cause death. Symptoms can include pain and tenderness in one leg; swelling in one leg; increased warmth and redness in one leg; shortness of breath and fainting; and, pain in the chest.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition in which the veins are constantly congested with pooled blood, causing circulation to be significantly impaired. Symptoms include edema (swelling); feeling of heaviness in the legs; pain or cramps in the calves; uncomfortable puffiness of the feet and ankles that subsides during the night; skin discolorations; dermatitis (skin problems); and, dry or weeping eczema.
A Venous Leg Ulcer is an open wound that usually forms near the ankle and is due to chronic poor circulation. The ulcer has a weeping, raw appearance and the skin surrounding the ulcer is dry, itchy, and brownish or blackish in color. Venous leg ulcers are usually slow to heal.