1. 5 Ways To Know If You Should Be Wearing Compression Socks

    In case you haven’t heard, gone are the days when compression stockings were a staple only among the elderly. Adults of all ages can experience chronic leg discomfort associated with long periods of immobility, and we should aim to take care of our legs just as we do with any other part of our body.

    If you’re curious to know if compression socks are right for you, keep reading to discover five reasons we believe you should grab a pair.


    1. You’re on your feet at work all day

    Standing on your feet all day at work not only puts strain on your back but can leave you with fatigued aching feet at the end of the day ready to sprawl out.  If you’re a nurse or flight attendant, then you’re all too familiar with this feeling. Wearing compression socks during your shift can make all the difference to improve leg circulation and combat pain and swelling.


    2. You have a medical condition

    Compression therapy is designed to treat lymphedema, edema, varicose veins, DVT, diabetes and other conditions that can stifle sufficient blood flow in the legs and feet. Mild cases may be easily treatable with light or firm compression socks; however, more severe symptoms should be discussed with your physician for prescription grade compression.


    3. You’re pregnant

    If you’re reading this and carrying a bundle of joy, then you’re either experiencing or bound to experience swollen ankles and feet. Edema, or fluid retention, is a normal part of pregnancy. However, while fluid build up yields benefits for a healthy pregnancy, it yields discomfort for the expecting mother. Wearing compression socks or stockings throughout the day can alleviate these symptoms for a more comfortable experience.


    4. You enjoy running

    Cramps, shin splints and plantar fasciitis are common side effects runners encounter. Gradient compression creates a pumping effect in the legs to increase blood flow and offset these problems, while also increasing muscle recovery.


    5. You fly frequently

    Sitting on a long-haul flight puts you at increased risk for fluid buildup, or even worse, deep vein thrombosis in the legs. Wearing compression socks while traveling can alleviate swollen, heavy feet and prevent blood from stagnating.

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  2. Coach Class Syndrome

    Compression stockings present the simplest, most efficient way to tackle Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Fear of flying is among the most common phobias in our society. But what many fail to realize is that they fear flying for all of the wrong reasons-especially people with a history of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or thrombotic episodes (blood clots).

    After all, the odds of being in a plane crash are minuscule, whereas fatal blot clots are far more frequent and often a direct result of flying, particularly in coach class where there is very little legroom. This syndrome, well known to the medical community as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
    and in layman's terms as Coach Class Syndrome, has been receiving more and more attention as of late.

    While the risk is especially high for individuals with a history of heart problems and edema, it is a fact that almost anyone-even athletes in tip-top shape-are at risk of having blood clots in their legs. This risk is especially high during airplane flights due to a variety of factors
    including low cabin pressure, low humidity, the added risk of dehydration, and the inability to move around while flying.

    Coach Class Syndrome is potentially life threatening. Blood clots form in the body's deep veins, particularly in the legs. Sometimes the clot breaks off, travels through the bloodstream, and obstructs a vessel in the lungs,
    restricting blood flow. This condition is called pulmonary embolism, which damages tissues and causes poor lung function.

    DVT survivors may continue to have chronic swelling in their legs and pain from the blockage of blood flow through the affected vein. This can reduce their ability to live a full, active life. People who have suffered even
    one DVT episode are also more likely to have more episodes in the future.

    The good news is that Coach Class Syndrome is easily prevented, simply by wearing compression stockings. The American Heart Association recently published a series of studies that show that wearing compression stockings
    minimizes the risk of developing DVT, even during long flights. By putting pressure on leg muscles and helping to return blood flow from the legs to the heart, these stockings are nothing less than lifesavers for countless
    flyers each year.

    Call Discount Surgical Stockings today at (800) 982-0939 and ask to speak to one of our customer service specialists about how to order your pair of compression stockings.

    Just like your compression stockings-this is information you won't want to be without.

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  3. Working On Your Feet All Day

    If your job demands that you spend a lot of time standing, chances are, your legs demand compression stockings.

    You see, your veins need muscle activity to help them push oxygen-depleted blood back to your heart. If you stand in one place for too long, its your legs that suffer, because gravity actually works against the returning blood flow. Here are some tips for reducing swelling and soreness:

    • Keep moving your legs and flexing your muscles
    • Take a walk on breaks
    • Elevate your feet
    • Dont cross your legs
    • Wear comfortable shoes
    • And of course, wear  graduated compression stockings

    How Do Compression Stockings Help?

    • They improve blood flow
    • They reduce swelling and fatigue
    • And they help keep vein problems from getting worse. 

    Anyone whose job requires them to be on their feet all day long should try compression stockings.

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  4. How To Avoid Varicose Veins

    For many people, varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern. For others, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. And the condition could signal a higher risk of circulatory problems.

    Varicose veins affect up to 60 percent of all Americans, women more than men; older women more than younger. Treatment may involve self-help measures, or procedures by your doctor to close or remove these veins.

    The American Institute of Preventive Medicine offers these suggestions to help prevent them from forming: 

    • Don't cross your legs when sitting.
    • Exercise regularly. Walking is a good choice. It improves leg and vein strength. 
    • Keep your weight down. 
    • Avoid standing for prolonged periods. If your job or hobby requires you to stand, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. 
    • Wear elastic support stockings. 
    • Don't wear clothing or undergarments that are tight or constrict your waist, groin or legs. 
    • Eat high-fiber foods such as bran cereals, whole grain breads and fresh fruits and vegetables to promote regularity. Constipation contributes to varicose veins. 
    • Elevate your legs when resting. 
    • Stop and take short walks at least every 45 minutes when taking long car rides.
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  5. Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

    Varicose or enlarged veins usually occur in your lower legs, but may extend into the Pelvic area. They are caused by your enlarged uterus which presses on your abdominal veins and interferes with the return of blood from your legs. Varicose veins usually shrink and disappear during the first few weeks after the baby is born. However, it is wiser to try to avoid varicose veins than cure them.

    You can help avoid varicose veins by not wearing tight garters, stockings, or socks. If at all possible, do not stand in one place for long periods of time. If your job require's you to stand, walk around at break time to improve circulation. If you can, sit down and put your feet up occasionally. Jobs in which you sit most of the day often aggravate varicose veins. Do not sit with your legs crossed or with the pressure of a chair under your knees. If traveling by car, take frequent rest stops and walk around. Support hose will help you prevent varicose veins.

    If you have varicose veins or swelling in your legs, lie on a bed, couch, or floor and raise your feet and legs up in the air, resting your heels against the wall. Take this position for 2 to 5 minutes several times a day. if you are using a compression product this may not be necessary

    If you have severe varicose veins, you will be advised to wear a higher compression stocking all day. Support hose (low compression) are not as effective as elastic stockings. Put elastic stockings on before you get out of bed in the morning, before your veins become swollen with blood. Take them off just before you go to bed. Wash them in mild soap after every wearing.

    If you have varicose veins around your vaginal area, try to take frequent rest periods. Lie down with a pillow under your buttocks. This position elevates your hips and should give you some relief. You can use a V2 Supporter to help prevent the varicose veins.

    Leg Cramps

    Leg cramps are more common during the latter months of your pregnancy and are generally due to pressure from the enlarged uterus. They frequently occur in bed. You can often get relief from leg cramps by heat, massage, or stretching the calf muscle. Here are two exercises that may help:

    • Begin by standing about 6 inches away from a sturdy chair and holding on to the back of it. Slide the foot of the leg that is cramping as far backward as you can while keeping your heel on the floor. Bend the knee of your other leg as you slide the foot. Hold onto the chair and slide the foot back to the starting position. Repeat.
    • If you have someone to help you, lie down on the bed or floor and straighten your cramped leg. Have your helper push down against your knee with one hand and push up against the sole of your foot with the other hand so that your foot is at a right angle to your leg. Release and repeat several times. If cramps continue, tell your doctor.
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  6. What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

    Arteries bring oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins return oxygen-poor blood back to your heart. You have three kinds of veins. Superficial veins lie close to your skin, and the deep veins lie in groups of muscles. Perforating veins connect the superficial veins to the deep veins with one-way valves. Deep veins lead to the vena cava, your body's largest vein, which runs directly to your heart. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins. Usually, DVT occurs in your pelvis, thigh, or calf, but it can also occur less commonly in your arm, chest, or other locations.

    DVT can cause sudden swelling, pain, or a sensation of warmth. DVT can be dangerous, because it can cause a complication known as pulmonary embolism. In this condition, a blood clot breaks free from your deep veins, travels through your bloodstream, and lodges in your lungs. This clot can block blood flow in your lungs, which can strain your heart and lungs. A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. A large embolism can be fatal in a short time.

    It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the symptoms of DVT. However, the condition can be effectively treated once your physician diagnoses it. 

    What are the symptoms?

    If you have DVT, you may not even have any symptoms because about half of all DVT cases do not cause symptoms. The symptoms you feel can depend on the location and size of your blood clot. They include swelling, tenderness, leg pain that may worsen when you walk or stand, a sensation of warmth, and skin that turns blue or red.

    What causes DVT?

    When something goes wrong with your body's blood clotting system, DVT can occur. Once a small clot forms in your vein, it can cause an inflammation that may encourage more blood clots to form. 

    Often, poor blood flow, or stagnation of blood flow, in your leg veins increases the risk for DVT. This poor flow can occur when you are not able to move for long periods of time. As a result, when your blood pools in your veins, clots are more likely to form. Specific causes of DVT include:

    Although it is true that long airplane flights can increase your risk of DVT, this rarely occurs. Most cases of DVT occur in sick, hospitalized patients. You have a greater chance of developing DVT if you are obese, have a history of heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure, are pregnant, nursing, or taking birth control pills, or have inflammatory bowel disease.Most cases of DVT affect the legs, but DVT in the upper body is becoming more commonly recognized. 

    What tests will I need?

    First, your physician asks you questions about your general health, medical history, and symptoms. In addition, your physician conducts a physical exam. Together these are known as a patient history and exam. To confirm a diagnosis of DVT, the physician may order a duplex ultrasound test or another test called a venogram.

    Duplex ultrasound uses high-frequency waves higher than human hearing can detect. Duplex ultrasound allows your physician to measure the speed of blood flow and to see the structure of your veins and sometimes the clots themselves.

    venogram is an x ray that allows your physician to see the anatomy of your veins and sometimes clots within them. During this test, your physician injects a dye that makes your veins appear on an x ray.

    How is DVT treated?

    Your physician or vascular surgeon can usually treat DVT with medications or minimally invasive procedures. Rarely, surgery may be required. 

    If you have DVT, your physician may inject an anticoagulant drug called heparin. Anticoagulants are also called blood thinners. They don't literally thin your blood, but they help prevent your blood from clotting too easily. Heparin helps prevent clots from forming and keeps clots you already have from growing larger. However, heparin cannot break up a clot that you already have. Heparin acts rapidly but must be given by vein.

    Usually, you will receive heparin for 5 to 7 days. After that, you will take an anticoagulant pill called warfarin (Coumadin), usually for 6 months. During the time you are receiving medication, your physician will order blood tests to make sure your anticoagulation level is adequate to prevent clots, but not too high to cause excessive bleeding. Anticoagulants can cause bleeding problems if the dosage is too high.

    If your physician wants to dissolve the clot, he or she may recommend thrombolysis. In this procedure, your vascular surgeon injects clot-dissolving drugs through a catheter directly into the clot. Thrombolysis has a higher risk for bleeding complications and stroke than anticoagulant therapy. However, thrombolysis can also dissolve very large clots. Your vascular surgeon may prefer to use thrombolysis if you have a high risk for pulmonary embolism or, sometimes, if you have DVT in your arm.

    Rarely, physicians recommend surgery to remove a deep vein clot. The procedure is called venous thrombectomy. You may need this surgery if you have a severe form of DVT called phlegmasia cerulea dolens, which does not respond to adequate non-surgical treatment. Phlegmasia cerulea dolens, ifnot treated, can cause gangrene, which is tissue death and occurs when tissues in your body do not receive enough oxygen and blood. Gangrene is very serious and can lead to amputation.

    A special metal filter can protect you from a pulmonary embolism if you are unable to take anticoagulants. This device is called a vena cava filter. The vena cava is a large vein in your abdomen. It carries blood back to your heart and lungs. Your vascular surgeon may recommend a vena cava filter if you are not a candidate for drug therapy for DVT or if drugs didn't reduce your clots. Vena cava filters trap the clots that break away from your leg veins before they can reach your lungs. Usually, your vascular surgeon inserts the filter into your vena cava through a catheter placed into a leg, neck or arm vein.

    Compression stockings may be used to reduce your swelling and prevent blood from pooling in your veins in your legs.

    What can I do to stay healthy?

    Physicians know that DVT is more likely if you have surgery. If you are scheduled for surgery, your physician may recommend one or more of the following, to prevent DVT:

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  7. Risks of Deep Vein Thrombosis while Traveling

    No matter what the mode of transportation you use, sitting motionless for long periods may put some travelers at an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a vein deep within the muscles, usually in the calf or thigh. But people can reduce their risk of getting DVT, says the American Heart Association (AHA), by taking some simple precautions on long trips.

    The AHA estimates that 1 out of every 1,000 Americans develops DVT each year. "It oftentimes gives you a swollen, painful leg, usually in the calf," says Richard Stein, M.D., a cardiologist and associate chair of medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and a spokesman for the AHA. "But it can be silent," producing no noticeable signs. "Tragic cases are when ... a piece of thrombus [blood clot] breaks off and goes into the lungs," says Stein. This complication of DVT, known as pulmonary embolism, was brought to public attention in 2003 when it caused the death of 39-year-old NBC reporter David Bloom. Bloom had spent long hours reporting the war in Iraq from the cramped quarters of a military vehicle.

    Any long period of immobility--such as being bedridden from illness, recovering from surgery, or sitting for extended periods while traveling--is a risk factor for DVT and pulmonary embolism, says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). DVT can also develop in other instances when the blood flow in the legs is restricted and slows down. Restricted flow may occur with certain types of cancer and cancer treatment, obesity, inherited clotting disorders, pregnancy, and damage to the veins following injury or orthopedic surgery.

    Clotting the blood is "nature's way of trying to prevent bleeding," says Wolf Sapirstein, M.D., a cardiologist at the Food and Drug Administration. But when nature's protective mechanism overcompensates and precautions aren't taken, there is a danger of blood clots.

    Reducing the Risk While Traveling

    DVT has been dubbed "economy-class syndrome," reflecting the cramped legroom in economy class airline seating. But it can happen to passengers in any seating class of an aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It can also happen to people on long rides in cars, trains, or buses.

    "People should not be afraid to travel," says Stanley Mohler, M.D., professor emeritus of aerospace medicine at the Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. "They should just anticipate that they may be inclined to be immobile," he says, and take precautions. A two-hour flight wouldn't be a problem, he says, but a 12-hour flight would be "a big problem" if a person sits inactive the entire time. Children who travel don't appear to be at risk for DVT, says Mohler, because they are generally more active in their seats than adults.

    In adults, "hub-and-spoke flying is also a problem," he says, referring to a series of connecting flights interspersed with long hours of waiting between flights. "It's important for passengers to keep moving their legs to help the blood flow," even when waiting in the airport terminal, says Mohler, who advises walking when possible. "When you walk, the muscles of the legs squeeze the veins and move blood to the heart."

    Another way to help move blood to the heart is to wear compression stockings, which put gentle pressure on the leg muscles. Studies in healthy people have shown that wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of developing DVT after long flights, according to the AHA. These support stockings are available at medical supply stores.

    Stein advises avoiding regular socks with very tight elastic bands at the top and sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time, which constricts the veins. He also urges travelers who can't walk around frequently to exercise their legs by curling or pressing the toes down, which causes the muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins, helping to pump the blood along.

    Airlines, also, are encouraging passengers to periodically move and stretch their legs. The Australian carrier Qantas, for example, offers leaflets with leg exercises that passengers can do in their seats. Qantas began printing warnings for DVT on its tickets following the highly publicized death of a 28-year-old woman in October 2000. The woman died from a pulmonary embolism shortly after she stepped off a 20-hour Qantas flight from Australia to England after attending the Olympic Games in Sydney.

    Stein also advises drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk for DVT. Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, which both contribute to dehydration, is also recommended. These steps aren't scientifically proven to prevent DVT, but they're common sense, says the AHA. As for taking aspirin to prevent DVT, "there is no real evidence that an aspirin reduces the likelihood, but it very possibly could be of value," says Stein.

    When traveling by car, "Don't take a 10-hour trip without stopping every couple of hours," says Stein. "Get out and walk a bit." Even if you're the driver, you still need to take walking breaks, he says. "Pushing on the gas pedal isn't enough activity even for the one leg."

    "Deep vein thrombosis went unrecognized for decades because the clots that formed in the large veins in the legs often started coming off in little pieces after a person had been home for a day or two," says Mohler, "so they would go to the emergency room with a suspected possible heart attack."

    Chest pain can be a symptom of both heart attack and pulmonary embolism. Other common symptoms of pulmonary embolism are unexplained shortness of breath and coughing up blood. It's important to tell your doctor if you have taken a long trip recently, says Mohler, so you can be diagnosed correctly.

    If you have any symptoms of pulmonary embolism, sit down and tell someone you have an emergency and need immediate help, says Stein. At that point, "there is no value in putting your feet up or drinking gallons of water. Getting to an emergency room quickly is your best shot."

    Another potential complication of DVT is post-phlebitic syndrome, a permanent condition caused by valves in the leg veins that don't work properly. "The body has mechanisms within itself to dissolve clots, but it's a very slow process," says George Shashaty, M.D., an FDA hematologist. "In the interim, an inflammatory reaction occurs that can scar the veins, especially the valves." The valves then fail to prevent blood from flowing backwards, allowing the blood to pool in the leg veins and cause pain, swelling, and sometimes varicose veins and skin ulceration.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    A commonly used FDA-approved medical test to diagnose DVT is the duplex ultrasound, says Sapirstein. A handheld device is passed back and forth on the surface of the affected area, sending sound waves from the body to a machine that generates and displays a picture of the blood flow on a video screen for a doctor to evaluate.

    Another less commonly used test, venography, may be done to diagnose DVT if ultrasound does not give a clear diagnosis, says Sapirstein. A dye is injected into a vein, which makes the blood flow visible when an X-ray is taken.

    Duplex ultrasound, chest X-rays, and other tests may be used to diagnose a pulmonary embolism. 
    "The primary treatment for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is blood thinners," says Sapirstein. Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, such as heparin, will not dissolve clots already formed, but will keep them from growing and prevent new ones from forming. Heparin may be given as an injection below the skin surface or into a vein (intravenously).

    People at risk for DVT may be prescribed the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin) to keep clots from growing. Warfarin is currently the only FDA-approved blood thinner taken orally. "Other agents are being developed as oral anticoagulants but aren't on the market yet," says Kathy Robie-Suh, M.D., Ph.D., an FDA internist. Warfarin interacts with many other medications. "If you are on warfarin, the doctor needs to know all the other medications you are on, including over-the-counter," says Robie-Suh, and patients should make sure they take their warfarin before going on a trip. People who have had one deep vein clot are prone to getting more.

    "When a patient cannot tolerate blood thinners or continues to develop clots, then you have to go to an alternative, such as a filter," says Sapirstein. The FDA has cleared medical filters, such as "umbrella filters," that a surgeon can insert into the vena cava, a large vein in the abdomen that returns oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. The filter is inserted in a folded position and then springs open against the vein walls to keep the vein open for blood flow. The filter does not keep blood clots from forming, but it prevents their passage from the veins in the lower extremities to the heart and lungs. These filters may either remain in place permanently or be removed later.

    Another treatment alternative for pulmonary embolisms is administering one of the FDA-approved thrombolytics. These potent drugs, known as "clot-busters," are given intravenously to quickly dissolve large clots that are unlikely to break up on their own. They are used only in life-threatening situations because they may cause sudden and severe bleeding.

    What Makes Deep Vein Thrombosis More Likely?

    • an inherited condition that causes increased risk for clotting
    • low blood flow in a deep vein due to injury, surgery, or being immobile
    • cancer and its treatment
    • other medical conditions, such as varicose veins
    • sitting for a long period of time, as on long trips
    • pregnancy and the first six weeks after giving birth
    • being older than age 60
    • being overweight
    • taking birth control pills or hormone therapy
    • having a medical condition that requires a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access to the bloodstream for medical treatment (central venous catheter).

    Facts About Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

    • Nine out of 10 cases of pulmonary embolism are caused by blood clots that form in the legs and then travel to the lungs.
    • More than 600,000 people in the United States have a pulmonary embolism each year, and more than 10 percent of them die from it.
    • Most who die do so within 30 to 60 minutes after symptoms start.
    • Pulmonary embolism occurs equally in men and women.
    • The risk of having a pulmonary embolism doubles for each 10 years after age 60.
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  8. What are Varicose Veins?

    Arteries bring oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins return oxygen-poor blood back to your heart. Varicose veins are swollen veins that you can see through your skin. They often look blue, bulging, and twisted. Left untreated, varicose veins may worsen over time. Large varicose veins can cause aching and fatigue as well as skin changes like rashes, redness, and sores. As many as 40 million Americans, most of them women, have varicose veins.

    You have two kinds of veins in your legs. Superficial veins lie close to your skin. Deep veins lie in groups of muscles. Deep veins lead to the vena cava, your body's largest vein, which runs directly to your heart. Perforating veins connect superficial veins to deep veins. Varicose veins occur in the superficial veins in your legs.

    The blood in your leg veins must work against gravity to return to your heart. To help move blood back to your heart, your leg muscles squeeze the deep veins of your legs and feet. One-way flaps called valves in your veins keep blood flowing in the right direction. When your leg muscles contract, the valves inside your veins open. When your legs relax, the valves close. This prevents blood from flowing backward. The entire process of sending blood back to the heart is called the venous pump.

    When you walk and your leg muscles squeeze, the venous pump works well. But when you sit or stand, especially for a long time, the blood in your leg veins can pool and the pressure in your veins can increase. Deep veins and perforating veins are usually able to withstand short periods of increased pressures. However, if you are a susceptible individual, your veins can stretch if you repeatedly sit or stand for a long time. This stretching can sometimes weaken the walls of your veins and damage your vein valves. Varicose veins or spider veins may result. Spider veins are mild varicose veins. They look like a nest of red or blue lines just under your skin. Spider veins are not a serious medical problem, but they can be a cosmetic concern to some people.

    What are the symptoms?

    If you have varicose veins, your symptoms may include:

    • Heavy, burning, tired, restless, or achy legs
    • Standing or sitting for too long may worsen your symptoms
    • You may also experience night cramps
    • You may notice small clusters of veins in a winding pattern on your leg, or soft, slightly tender knots of veins
    • In severe cases, you have slightly increased chances of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT may cause sudden, severe leg swelling. DVT is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

    What causes varicose veins?

    High blood pressure inside your superficial leg veins causes varicose veins.

    Factors that can increase your risk for varicose veins include having a family history of varicose veins, being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking, standing or sitting for long periods of time, and having DVT. Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Varicose veins usually affect people between the ages of 30 and 70.

    Pregnant women have an increased risk of developing varicose veins, but the veins often return to normal within 1 year after childbirth. Women who have multiple pregnancies may develop permanent varicose veins.

    What tests will I need?

    First your physician asks you questions about your general health, medical history, and symptoms. In addition, your physician conducts a physical exam. Together these are known as a patient history and exam. Your physician will examine the texture and color of any prominent veins. He or she may apply a tourniquet or direct hand pressure to observe how your veins fill with blood. To confirm a diagnosis of varicose veins, your physician may order a duplex ultrasound test.

    Duplex ultrasound uses high-frequency waves higher than human hearing can detect. Your physician uses duplex ultrasound to measure the speed of blood flow and to see the structure of your leg veins. The test can take approximately 20 minutes for each leg. Besides showing varicose veins, duplex ultrasound can help your physician decide whether your varicose veins are related to some other condition outside of the veins themselves.

    How are varicose veins treated?

    Varicose veins may sometimes worsen without treatment. Your physician will first try methods that don't require surgery to relieve your symptoms. If you have mild to moderate varicose veins, elevating your legs can help reduce leg swelling and relieve other symptoms. Your physician may instruct you to prop your feet up above the level of your heart 3 or 4 times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. When you need to stand for a long period of time, you can flex your legs occasionally to keep blood circulating. 

    Compression Stockings 

    For more severe varicose veins, your physician may prescribe compression stockings. Compression stockings are elastic stockings that squeeze your veins and stop excess blood from flowing backward. They can also help heal skin sores and prevent them from returning. You may be required to wear compression stockings daily for the rest of your life. However, they effectively treat varicose veins and may be all that you need to relieve pain and swelling and prevent future problems.

    When these kinds of treatments alone do not relieve your varicose veins, you may require a surgical or minimally invasive treatment, depending upon the extent and severity of the varicose veins. These treatments include sclerotherapy, ablation, vein stripping, and laser treatment.

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  9. What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

    Chronic venous insufficiency is a disease caused by weak, worn, or damaged valves in the veins of the legs. It causes swelling (edema) of the legs. It can also cause sores on the legs, especially in the area of the ankles. 

    How does it occur?

    The arteries pump blood from the heart and the veins return blood to the heart. Veins, unlike arteries, have no muscle tissue. Veins require the muscles in our feet and legs to return the blood, against gravity, to the heart. To help this process, the veins have a series of valves in them that prevent back flow. 

    The valves in your veins may be weak or worn. They may have been damaged by a blood clot in one of the deep veins of your leg. When these valves are not working well, the blood has difficulty moving upward. Prolonged increased pressure in the veins causes the valves to stretch out, making them unable to close properly. As a result, the blood flows back into other veins and pools in the tissues of the legs, causing swelling. It can also cause small veins in the skin to break. These sores are called stasis or varicose ulcers. The ulcers increase your risk of injury and infection. They are often difficult to treat.

    In addition to blood clots, obesity, inactivity, and aging can contribute to the weakening of or damage to the valves. Some people may have just inherited weak valves. 

    What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms may include: 

    • swelling 
    • changes in the color of your skin, usually in the area of your ankle 
    • pain 
    • rash 
    • enlargement of the veins close to the surface of your skin 
    • skin ulcers, usually on or near the ankle.

    When you have stasis ulcers in the skin, the blood in the tissue breaks down and leaves a brownish color. The skin becomes dry, cracks, and itches. 

    How is it treated?

    The goals of treatment are to reduce the pooling of blood and prevent ulcers. Activities that increase venous blood flow, reduce pooling, and help prevent ulcers are:

    • Elevation of the legs to allow pooled blood to drain
    • Compression of veins close to the skin to prevent pooling.

    To allow pooled blood to drain, raise your legs above the level of your heart at set times throughout the day (at least 30 minutes every 2 hours). At night, sleep with your feet elevated about 6 inches by propping them on pillows. 

    Special stockings may be prescribed by your health care provider to compress your legs and help the blood to return to the heart. Proper fit is very important. The stockings must provide greater pressure at the foot and ankle and gradually declining pressure up the leg. You should put the stockings on after a period of leg elevation, for example, before you get out of bed in the morning.

    How can I take care of myself?

    • Elevate your legs for at least 30 minutes every 2 hours and sleep with your legs propped on pillows. 
    • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing. Walking is better for your circulation. 
    • When you are sitting, avoid crossing your legs or dangling your legs over the edge of a chair or bed. 
    • Avoid wearing girdles, leg garters, and other tight-fitting garments. 
    • Maintain a normal weight. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight. 
    • Protect your feet and legs from injury. 
    • Keep your skin clean, dry, and soft. Wash with a mild soap, dry carefully, and apply an unscented lotion right away if dryness has been a problem. 
    • Call your health care provider's office right away if you see signs of sores developing.

    How can I help prevent chronic venous insufficiency?

    A walking program that starts with only a few steps every day but builds slowly and steadily may help prevent the progress of this condition.

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  10. What are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

    Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn under the skin. They usually develop in the legs and particularly in the lower leg region. As they increase in severity they will swell and bulge and can easily be seen through the skin. 

    Spider veins, a 'close relative' of varicose veins, tend to be lighter, smaller in size and though they are not raised or bulging, they are still visible through the skin. They are typically found on the legs and face. 

    Varicose and spider veins are red, blue and purple in color and at a minimum, can simply be a cosmetic problem and source of embarrassment. In more severe cases, they can be extremely painful, even debilitating, and may require appropriate treatment.

    The force of gravity, the pressure of body weight, and the task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart make legs the primary location for varicose and spider veins. Compared with other veins in the body, leg veins have the toughest job of carrying blood back to the heart, and that means, they endure the most pressure. 

    Who's at risk?

    • Generally, women are at greater risk for developing varicose veins and spider veins than  men and the risk increases with age.
    • Heredity does play a factor so if your mother or grandmother had them, your chances increase.
    • Hormonal changes in the body particularly during pregnancy and menopause.
    • Excess weight which put increased pressure on the lower leg vessels.
    • Anyone in a job that involves extended time on their feet, especially when mostly standing without much walking or activity.
    • Approximately 30% to 60% of adults have varicose veins or spider veins of varying severity.

    Signs and Symptoms?

    Aside from the most obvious which is their visibility, the common signs and symptoms  of varicose (and spider) veins include:

    • Aching pain
    • Tiredness/fatigue in the legs
    • Tingling, burning or throbbing
    • Swelling and heaviness in the legs

    Less common symptoms might be:
    • Numbness
    • Ulcers
    • Darkening of the skin around the veins
    • Thrombophlebitis- inflammation and pain where the varicose veins form a blood clot.

    What is the treatment?

    There are several courses of action to take to prevent and/or treat varicose veins, depending on the severity of each case.

    Lifestyle changes � including weight loss, regular activity (especially walking) to minimize risk factors beforehand, and elevating the legs after standing for long periods of time.

    Wearing support or compression stockings can often help avoid varicose or spider veins from forming, and they also minimize symptoms and pain once a person already suffers from this problem. Support hosiery comes in a variety of colors, styles and compression levels, so it is best to consult a medical professional or an expert fitter to determine the best option depending on the individual's symptoms.

    There are also more invasive surgical treatment options available for more severe cases. These treatments include saline injections into the veins, laser therapy and in more extreme cases, surgery to tie off or remove segments of the veins.

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