Veins, Valves and Varicosities
Summer is right around the corner, and people will be eager to slip on their bathing suits, lather up with sunscreen and hit the sandy surf. But many are staying home behind closed doors and shuttered windows. Why? Over 40 million people in the United States suffer from unsightly varicose and spider veins which cause self-confidence issues and keep them from experiencing the many joys of life such as simply getting a suntan, or even putting on a pair of shorts. For most, varicose veins are purely a cosmetic issue, but there is also a significant number of people who will experience more serious varicose vein related conditions and suffer pain and discomfort.
What are Varicose Veins?
Classified as a chronic venous disorder (CVD), varicose veins are enlarged and bulging veins that result from the most common of physical forces: gravity. As we stand, gravity pulls blood downward and increases pressure in the veins of the legs and causes them to expand if they are unhealthy or otherwise compromised. We also believe that varicose veins can be hereditary and are related to chronic inflammation of the veins. Spider veins, a relative of varicose veins, are red and blue-colored veins which are found closer to the skin’s surface. Although spider veins can occur in the legs, they can also be found on the face and generally resemble a spider’s web.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
There are many signs of varicose veins, both visible and physical. The most obvious visible indication occurs when veins are dark-purple or bluish in color. Another visible sign is when veins are twisted and protruding. Painful indicators of varicose veins include a heavy, achy, burning or throbbing sensation in the legs, and often times itching and skin discoloration around a varicose vein. Other painful signs can include muscle cramping and swelling.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
As we know, blood pressure increases in the legs due to the force of gravity pulling blood downward, as well as exerting force against blood as it is pumped upwards back to the heart. If a vein is weak or damaged, the valves inside your veins that keep blood from backing up might not function properly causing backward pressure to increase.
Think of a sump pump that is below grade in your basement…there’s almost always a check valve in the line that prevents water from flowing backward against gravity and flooding the pump when it is at rest. (See Fig. 1)
In conjunction with breathing, muscle contractions in the legs also contribute to moving blood in the veins, so it is extremely important that these valves work correctly, otherwise more serious venous conditions can result. Aside from valves functioning properly, vein elasticity needs to be taken into consideration. A weakened vein is more likely to bulge than one that is healthy and strong.
Who is at Risk?
Typically, the likelihood of varicose veins increases with age when a general deterioration of the valves can occur allowing blood to flow back into veins and pool instead of returning to the heart.
Along with age, other factors such as obesity, standing or sitting for long periods of time and gender all play a role in the development of varicose veins. Being overweight increases pressure on the veins while lack of muscle movement inhibits blood flow. And, women are more likely to develop varicose veins due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause since veins can become relaxed during these times.
If varicose veins are left untreated, more serious issues can occur such as blood clots, bleeding and venous ulcers, all of which are conditions that should be diagnosed by your doctor as soon as possible.
What Can Be Done to Treat Varicose Veins?
Since varicose veins develop over time due to gravity, there is no way to completely avoid them. But rudimentary efforts such as exercise, proper diet and elevating your legs can help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. For women, high heels and tight hosiery should be avoided whenever possible.
But perhaps an often-overlooked therapeutic in the treatment of varicose veins and other chronic venous disorders is diosmin, a bioflavonoid commonly found in citrus fruits. Diosmin is a natural compound that is used to treat CVD by improving venous tone and elasticity. Further, it can also reduce inflammation in the veins and therefore contribute to improved blood flow. Diosmin has also been shown to reduce symptoms of leg heaviness, cramping and swelling associated with venous disorders. In fact, a 2017 study in The Journal of Venous Disease concluded that diosmin reduced the symptoms of CVD in 127 patients studied.
Where Can I Get Diosmin?
VitasupportMD, the leader in Bioflavonoids, has created Vein Formula which contains diosmin and supports normal venous function in patients with varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, edema (swelling of the legs), skin changes, stasis dermatitis, venous ulcers, leg heaviness, night cramps and restless leg syndrome. And, since VitasupportMD’s diosmin is the Micronized Purified Flavonoid Fraction (MPFF), it is more readily absorbed by the bloodstream and therefore more beneficial to the body.
Vein Formula has been created by a Board-Certified cardiovascular surgeon and is manufactured in an FDA-registered facility adhering to the strictest manufacturing guidelines as dictated by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), Certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).