As a result of their upright stance and a lifestyle with too little exercise, human beings are the only life forms that suffer from the widespread problem of diseased veins.

A lack of exercise and too much standing or sitting places considerable pressure on the venous system. The muscle pumping action no longer adequately supports the return of the blood. A genetic predisposition, obesity, and increasing age are also contributory factors. Multiple pregnancies provide further unfavorable conditions. Due to these factors, the veins become increasing distended and the valves can no longer close properly. The blood flows backwards and the superficial veins, which are not held in place by muscle or bone, become distended and appear as snaking varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins?

The word varicose is a medical term used to describe unnaturally and permanently distended veins. These veins will never regain their natural elasticity, which makes them unable to transport the blood properly.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST SIGNS OF VENOUS DISEASE?

Tired legs, swollen ankles, tingling and itching, or stabbing pain in the legs may be the first signs of varicose veins developing, even before anything is to be seen. Because the blood is no longer flowing back to the heart quickly enough, liquid from the veins escapes into the surrounding tissue. Swelling occurs, especially around the ankles. If you notice such swelling every evening, regardless of what you were doing during the day, it is very likely that your veins are already damaged. If you can see swelling on the surface of your skin, you already have superficial varicose veins.

WHAT VEIN DISEASES ARE THERE?

Spider-veins These are very fine blood vessels of a few millimeters or centimeters in length that are visible as a spidery pattern just under the surface of the skin. Spider-veins rarely cause complaints and are mostly a cosmetic nuisance. However, they can be a warning signal of varicose veins below.
Varicose veins (varices) If the vein wall becomes soft and distended, the venous valves no longer close properly. The blood stagnates. The veins give way even further. With time, this leads to a network of meandering blood vessels. Without proper therapy, varicose veins spread persistently. Some of the possible consequences are described here.
Inflammation of the veins (phlebitis) Signs of inflamed veins are a marked reddening, swelling, overheating and severe pain along the course of the vein.

Thrombosis If the return flow of blood to the heart is impaired, there is a greater danger of blood clots (thrombi) forming on the vessel walls. These clots block the vein and thus prevent the return flow of blood. Further damage to the venous system is incurred. The first signs are swelling of the lower leg, which may be accompanied by overheating, pain and a feeling of heaviness. Treatment by a doctor is imperative, as it can lead to a clot entering the lungs which can be a life threatening pulmonary embolism.

Leg Ulcer Because the oxygen-deficient blood in the veins is not transported away, the exchange of nutrients and waste products is impaired. This leads to cells being seriously damaged and tissue dying off. Chronic wounds (leg ulcers) can be the result. Healing these type of chronic wounds is linked to addressing the cause of the condition: distended varicose veins.

WHAT IS THE PROPER THERAPY FOR YOUR VEINS?

Compression stockings and a healthy lifestyle for your veins Venous diseases cannot always be cured. Unfortunately, defective venous valves and distended veins cannot be returned to their previous condition. The two options available are invasive treatment, in which the defective veins are sclerosed or surgically removed, and conservative compression therapy.

Compression therapy Conservative therapy is aimed at improving the condition by means of compression and exercise therapy. Compression therapy is the basis for this. In some cases, compression bandages are necessary to begin with in order to reduce the swelling of the leg. Both compression bandages and compression stockings support the leg and reduce the diameter of the veins so that the venous valves can close again, thus preventing the blood from flowing in the wrong direction – namely away from the heart. After this type of therapy medical compression stockings may be used to compress the leg. Medical compression stockings prevent new varicose veins from forming and keep existing venous disease under control. If venous disease is left untreated, it may get progressively worse and become chronic. This is why it is particularly important to prevent deterioration or complications by consistently wearing your compression stockings.
Operation, sclerosis and laser Your doctor will decide which measures are necessary. Very small spider-veins can be treated by laser. The laser heats the blood in the small superficial veins and obliterates them. Sclerosis involves a substance being injected into the diseased vein with a very thin needle. This leads to inflammation and permanent closure of the diseased vein. Larger varicose veins are removed surgically. Today, the surgical methods have been perfected to the degree that the operation leaves virtually no visible scars and all healthy veins remain intact.
Exercise therapy The single most important thing that ensures the success of therapy is sufficient exercise. All exercises and sports that keep the joints mobile and the leg muscles active are suitable here. Heavy lifting and jumping are prohibited. Special exercises have been designed for vein patients. Vein exercise routines should be performed for at least 10 minutes twice a day to achieve visible success. The following sports are good for your veins: walking, jogging, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, cross-country skiing and dancing.