Noticing the symptoms of vein conditions that keep you from living a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Many people have probably known someone with vein issues — it could have been your mother or grandmother, and it could have been visible varicose veins, spider veins, or discolored legs. Many people think it couldn’t happen to them, or that it’s simply a normal part of getting older, or it’s an unavoidable part of being on your feet all day.
Do you experience any of the following?
1. General fatigue and feeling run-down. Chronic fatigue is the most common indicator of vein problems and plays havoc on an active and healthy lifestyle. Stagnant vein circulation causes the body to generate inflammation in the legs, which circulates in the body. This inflammation makes people feel exhausted, especially at the end of the day.
2. Achy, tired, fatigued legs. Stagnant vein circulation causes the body to generate inflammation in the legs, which causes fatigue and aching, primarily in the evenings.
3. Reduced activity and weight gain. People have reduced activity in the evenings due to fatigue and don’t burn as many calories. They often gain an average of 10 to 15 pounds a year.
4. Poor sleep. Three-quarters of patients have poor quality sleep due to leg or foot symptoms in the evening or at night, and many wake up in the morning feeling washed out and tired. Much of this is due to the inflammation in the body from a vein condition.
5. Restless legs. Occurring occasionally during the day, restless legs will always occur at night. People with restless leg syndrome are often tormented by exhausting, uncontrollable leg movement that prevents sleep. Thankfully, 80% of those that suffer from RLS experience complete or significant relief in their symptoms with treatment, and many are able to sleep through the night for the first time in years.
6. Swelling in legs or feet. Swelling often improves overnight but returns the next day.
7. Cramps or charley horses. These nighttime cramps are very painful and can occur in the feet, calves, and thighs. People who have cramps are often in a significant amount of pain. Cramps typically go away the night of the first treatment.
8. Numbness, tingling, stinging, or cold feet. With a vein condition, these symptoms are always worse in the evening and improve with treatment.
9. Tiny spider veins around the ankle, knee, or thigh. These are often not very visible and often missed or ignored. Their presence indicates abnormal circulation under the surface.
10. Itching, skin discoloration, and open wounds. A minority of patients reach this advanced stage of vein disease in which the skin breaks down and cannot heal due to excessive inflammation under the skin. Early symptoms include brown discoloration in the ankle area.
The reality is that it’s not normal for your legs to ache and hurt so much in the evenings that you don’t want to do things. Even you, regardless of your age, could have a vein condition. Fortunately, today it’s easy to diagnose vein problems, and there are treatments that can really help people.
Still, many adults suffer daily and are completely unaware that their problems are vein-related. Is it possible to have a vein condition with no visible signs? The answer is yes! When you see the words “vein condition,” many people automatically think of spider veins and varicose veins — those visible and bulging purple or blue-ish veins in the legs. The fact is that 80% of those who suffer from a significant vein condition have no visible symptoms. One in four adults have vein abnormalities, but most don’t seek treatment because their legs look the same as ever and they are unaware of the condition.
So, how do you tell if you have a vein condition? The pattern of vein symptoms is very predictable, which is how we make the diagnosis. From there, a specialized venous ultrasound confirms the condition.
If you experience any of the visible and invisible signs of a vein condition, the first thing to do is to increase your activity.
If you experience any of the visible and invisible signs of a vein condition, the first thing to do is to increase your activity. Doing things like walking, swimming, taking the stairs, and jogging will improve the circulation in your legs. Next, try compression stockings. Compression stockings help the vein work better by decreasing the backflow of blood in the lower legs.
The good news is that symptoms will improve with treatment, and many will disappear completely. After treatments, patients often report feeling healthier and happier. An initial vein screening is easy, and specialists will ask about your story, review your symptoms, and most importantly, evaluate the pattern of your symptoms, which might indicate a vein condition.
Vein health is an area that isn’t covered in most medical schools or residency programs, so it’s not often that a practitioner will refer you to vein care. Many patients are referred by a friend or family member who can notice their symptoms and suffering. Sometimes, a real friend will push someone to do something beneficial that they wouldn’t ordinarily do for themselves.