Swollen legs every now and then, minor spider veins: what may appear innocent at first sight is often a sign of a venous disorder. And this actually affects the majority of adults, often early on. Becoming active is crucial to be able to continue enjoying a carefree life. This article will provide you with comprehensive information about venous disorders and what you can do for your health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vein problems are among the most common conditions in the world.
The notion that venous disorders only affect older generations is incorrect, however: in Germany, around 90 percent of adults over the age of 18 suffer from changes to the venous system, with men being equally affected as women.* Problems include anything from minor spider veins to venous leg ulcers, the most severe stage of chronic venous disorders.
*Source: Bonner Venenstudie der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Phlebologie (Phlebologie 1 2003; 32: 1 14)
How does a vein condition develop?
Blood is transported toward the heart in your veins. In addition to the veins themselves, this is ensured by the leg muscles, which act like a pump and push the blood from the legs to the heart by alternating between tensing and relaxing during movement. Inside the veins, the venous valves make sure that the blood doesn’t return to the legs.
In cases of vein problems, two functions are primarily impaired: if the surrounding muscles are not sufficiently activated, this motor comes to a halt, and blood flow is no longer stimulated properly. And if the vascular walls of the veins then stretch because of the congestion, pathological expansion can occur, resulting in the venous valves no longer closing fully. Blood starts to pool and the next vein section is excessively stretched. The connective tissue also plays a role: the majority of patients with vein problems has a hereditary weakness in their connective tissue.
Who is particularly susceptible to suffering from weak veins?
As a basic rule, veins are subject to natural wear, like the entire body: the venous walls can lose elasticity during a person’s life, they no longer cope well with distortion, and the venous valves don’t close properly anymore. However, this does not mean that venous disorders only affect older people. As previously mentioned, vein conditions can first occur earlier on in life.
Women should pay particular attention. On the one hand, their connective tissue is generally weaker than that of men, which advances vein weakness. On the other hand, hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, can subject the venous system to a lot of strain.
Everyday behavior, too, has a huge impact on whether the veins are doing well. Inactivity, obesity, extended periods of sitting or standing, an unbalanced diet, smoking, and unfavorable clothing, such as high-heeled footwear or tight pants, lead to increased strain on the veins.
Overview of risk factors for the veins
- Extended periods of standing or sitting, for example at work
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- A diet rich in fat and/or sugar
- Unsuitable clothing (high-heeled shoes, tight pants)
What are the symptoms of weak veins?
In nine out of ten adults in Germany, the venous system shows changes. Everyone should therefore pay attention as soon as minor spider veins form or the legs frequently feel tired and heavy or are swollen.
Swelling is often attributed to a long day at the office, the summer heat, or uncomfortable footwear, and spider veins are perceived as a cosmetic rather than a health problem. But these are usually the first signs of weak veins.
Left untreated, this has negative consequences for the entire venous system of the leg. Seemingly harmless spider veins can be a symptom of an underlying vein weakness, varicose veins can advance inflammation of the veins, and edema, if left untreated for too long, can develop into venous leg ulcers. The potential development of deep vein thrombosis, i.e. a blood clot that could cause a fatal pulmonary embolism in the worst-case scenario, should also not be underestimated.
It’s therefore important not to be shy as soon as the first symptoms occur and have a physician check what exactly is going on with your leg veins.
What venous disorders are there?
Have you already been diagnosed with weak veins or would you like to find out more about specific venous disorders? Find below an overview of the most common vein conditions with further information.
An overview of the most common venous disorders and vein problems
How are weak veins treated?
The following generally applies: in cases of venous disorders, only the symptoms and accompanying signs are treatable. Veins that have already been damaged cannot be healed. Surgical procedures such as the removal, sclerotherapy, or obturation of diseased veins, however, can reduce congestion symptoms and the risk of thrombosis. But this does not cure the underlying vein weakness.
However, there’s no reason to bury your head in the sand. Quite the opposite: in cases of vein problems, it’s crucial to address the symptoms in a targeted and consistent manner. For this, knowing the causes and the effects of the individual treatment components is important. Our information pages will help you with this, as will your physician in particular who will discuss the appropriate treatment with you. When you consistently implement the treatment measures, you will, on the one hand, alleviate your symptoms, which will have a major impact on your well-being and help you live an active life. On the other hand, you will be able to effectively prevent the condition from progressing.
And you don’t even have to turn your everyday life upside down. There are many small things that promote your vein health. To prevent additional vein problems or the further progression of the condition, a healthier lifestyle with plenty of exercise and regularly wearing clinically proven medical compression stockings is recommended.
Supporting veins with medical compression stockings
Medical compression stockings consist of an elastic weave. When wearing them and during movement in particular, expanded veins are gently compressed from the outside, which helps the venous valves close fully again. This results in an improved venous return flow, a more balanced vein weakness, and alleviated symptoms.
In order to meet individual needs, there are four different compression classes (I to IV) with corresponding increasing, medically effective contact pressure, i.e. levels of compression. It’s crucial that you get the compression stocking that suits your individual symptoms and your personal lifestyle – it also has to fit precisely. The discussion with your prescribing physician is important for specifics such as compression class and stocking length to be determined. Your medical retailer will then advise you when choosing a suitable model and ensure the correct fit.
Of course, there is a lot of information about the benefits and modes of action of our medical compression stockings.
Find out more now:
And remember: once the veins have pathologically expanded, they cannot regenerate. The sooner you start using medical compression stockings, the better for your vein health.
Get advice on site!
Find a suitable retailer near you.