- Should you travel with aggravated venous disorders ? What are the rules to follow ?
Even if you suffer from venous disease, you can travel. For long distance trips, if you can travel by train, then do so as this allows you to move during the trip. Prolonged sitting is also not good to your veins and may cause a DVT (or a blood clot in the deep veins). If you don’t have a choice but to drive then make sure to stop regularly, walk and massage your legs. If you travel by plane, stand up and move as often as possible. Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
- Should I see a doctor if my legs are continually swollen?
- You have had varicose veins for a long time without any pain. Should you be treated ?
In the long run, varicose veins may have serious consequences for the blood circulation in your venous system, such as venous stasis. Over time, venous stasis can lead to changes in your skin (redness, brown spots) which in turn could lead to a venous ulcer. The earlier varicose veins are treated (there are various treatment options), the greater will be the chance for your venous network to regenerate itself. Compression stockings should also be worn to help your venous system overcome the high venous pressure due to venous stasis.
- Can women take the contraceptive pill or hormones when they have venous disorders ?
Medicines prescribed for women like the contraceptive pill or hormones for menopause are usually in very small dosage and are almost not harmful to the venous system. However, if you are a heavy smoker, a strong risk of thrombosis exists. In the case of someone who has venous insufficiency, it is advised not to take these type of hormonal medications so that the risk of thrombosis can be reduced.
- You have been feeling pains in your legs. Your legs are swollen, they itch and brown spots appear. Are these the sign of an ulcer ?
A venous ulcer has many causes. Chronic venous insufficiency, in the majority of cases, is the activating factor. It often happens when the treatment is not sort. Independently, we are talking about varicose veins or post thrombotic syndrome. The vessels’ functioning is so disturbed that there is stasis. Then edema appears and your skin aspect changes - at first a color change, then it itches and eczema appears. As time passes, your skin hardens. A small wound or an inflammation due to a mosquito bite are enough to deteriorate your skin. An ulcer forms. These changes appear gradually and can in most cases be resolved with treatment.
- Should you smoke if you suffer from venous disorders ?
Nicotine has no harmful consequences on the venous system. However, arteries and lungs are severely damaged. Smoking is bad for your overall health.
- Are varicose veins hereditary?
- Do thrombosis and pulmonary embolism frequently appear after varicose veins surgery ?
No. However, a preventive deep examination is necessary to exclude potential damage to the deep venous network. Risks of complication after a varicose vein surgery or a stripping are less significant than after any other surgery because a strong compression bandage (or compression stocking) is used after each surgery and the patient is asked to exercise.
- Should one drink alcohol if he/she suffers from venous disorders ?
Alcohol dilates veins, so they have to double their work. Alcohol consumed in moderation will not adversely affect someone with venous disorders.
- Are spider veins life threatening?
- Are varicose veins a danger for a pregnant woman ?
Often, varicose veins appear during a pregnancy but they usually disappear almost entirely after childbirth. Depending on the area in which varicose veins appear and the pain they provoke, it might be sensible to wear compression stockings for awhile. In rare cases, varicose veins could reach the groin which is unpleasant but involves no risks.
- When you have varicose veins surgery, some of your veins are removed. If at some point in the future, it is recommended that you have cardiac or artery surgery, will there be adequate veins left to properly perform the surgery ?
No. The new invasive methods only take out ‘sick’ veins. Varicose veins cannot be used for heart surgery or leg arteries because their walls have been damaged and cannot support the arterial network.
- Can we prevent the appearance of varicose veins?
Yes, move ! To go from one point to another you should walk or bike instead of driving. Use the staircase rather than the elevator. Practise a sport that would stimulate your venous system like cycling, swimming, or walking. If you have no choice other than to stand or to sit all day long at work, give yourself time to take few steps each hour. Raise your legs and move as often as possible. It is also recommended to shower your legs with cold water and to wear compression socks or stockings 20-30mmHg.
- If you continually wear strong compression stockings, are your leg muscles weakened ?
Compression stockings and bandages have no negative effect on muscles. On the contrary, patients treated by compression have to move alot, therefore, the leg musculature is thus mobilised and developed.
- When do varicose veins appear ?
Varicose veins can appear early in childhood, but studies show that they have a tendency to appear after the age of 20.
- Does wearing a strong compressive bandage prevent blood from circulating properly ?
Compression therapy is a mechanical treatment which operates from the outside and exerts pressure reducing the calibre of sick veins. The valves become closer which allows them to carry out their function. The venous blood circulation increases, the ebbing is controlled and the stasis weakens. The venous circulation gets better. The compressive treatment has no effect on arteries.
- What is the most efficient compression method after a serious thrombosis ?
In general, bandages are used as the first step in the treatment of a deep venous thrombosis. They are used until the edema is absorbed. Measures can then be taken to wear compression stockings. The compression stockings have to be worn every day to avoid venous stasis. In most cases knee-high support stockings are sufficient. You can determine the style of compression garment you choose with your doctor (thigh length or pantyhose stockings).
- Can varicose veins appear on testicles ?
Varicose veins can actually appear on testicles, they are called ‘varicoceles’. This pathology has nothing to do with the venous LEG disorders. Varicoceles may lead to sterility with men and must then be removed.
- Can varicose veins appear again ?
Today, it is impossible to control the heredity factor of varicose veins. That’s why varicose veins can reappear even after a surgery or sclerotherapy. However, varicose veins that have been treated never appear again but new ones can.
- Should you give up tea or coffee because you suffer from a venous disorder?
No. Tea or coffee has no influence on a serious venous thrombosis or post-thrombotic syndrome.
- How does DVT start?
It is a blood clot in the deep veins that dislodges and travels through the circulatory system. It could be life threatening if the blood clot blocks the pulmonary artery to the lungs - this is called a pulmonary embolism.
- What is DVT?
DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis.
- Must patients with venous disorders follow some rules while they are on vacation? And if so, which ones ?
Any activity that makes you move is allowed - jogging , walking, swimming, cycling etc. It is preferable to avoid sunbathing as it is harmful to the venous system. If you don’t want to give up the sun, refresh your legs regularly in a swimming-pool, in the sea or with a water jet.
- How can one find a specialist in the venous disorders field ? (Surgeons, interns, general practitioners and dermatologists specialized in the treatment of varicose veins (phlebology)).
- In Germany, these specialists are recognized by their medical signs on which is written ‘vein specialists’ - In Austria, dermatologists and angiologists are specialized in the field of venous disorders. However, a special designation does not exist. - In Switzerland, specialists are easily found under the heading ‘venous disorders’ in the phone book. They distinguish themselves by belonging to the ‘SGP members’, i.e. members of the Swiss phlebology society which regularly gives them training and information on venous disorders treatments. - In the USA, a specialist can be found by going to the website www.phlebology.org, or looking for a vascular surgeon who specializes in veins.
- What is an ulcer treatment like ?
Before treating an ulcer, the causes have to be studied, then the appropriate treatment will be prescribed. Your leg could only recover if the cause is treated. Chronic venous insufficiency is in most cases at the origin of an ulcer especially after there is edema accompanied with a colour change and a skin hardening. In this case the venous stasis problem needs to be solved. Compression stockings (or bandages) are indicated along with appropriate wound care. The patient must also move alot. All venous ulcer cures if it is treated with the appropriate compression. It is essential to avoid applying cream or powder on a wound because these substances provoke allergies and eczema and do not contribute to the cure. Never try and treat your ulcer by yourself applying a cream or a another product from your personal medicine chest ! An ulcer is to be treated by a doctor. It is the only way for hoping a recovery. A skin graft may contribute to a faster recovery; it is a minor ambulatory surgery under local anaesthesia. A hospitalization is not necessary. As soon as the ulcer is cured, an adapted treatment is essential to avoid a relapse. You have to wear medical compression stockings everyday and for lifetime. It is the only way to avoid the appearance of a new ulcer.
- Do more women than men suffer from varicose veins?
- Should I fly right after giving birth?
It is recommended that mothers should not fly for at least 6 weeks right after giving birth.