How to recognize chronic venous disease?
For a while, I have had aching legs, heaviness, and a swelling sensation. Do I suffer from bad venous circulation?
Your symptoms are similar to those of chronic venous disease. You should consult your doctor because different solutions exist.
I have tired and aching legs at the end of the day. What could it be and what can I do?
These are chronic venous disease-related symptoms due to bad venous circulation. You can avoid making the problem worse by taking daily lifestyle measures (see section “Good habits”). In addition, you should consult your doctor because there are some effective treatments that can be followed in order to stop its progression and prevent complications.
After traveling by plane, my legs are often swollen and aching. Why is that?
This is due to the venous stasis occurring in your legs when you sit for a long time without moving them to promote an upward flow of blood to your heart. Depending on the intensity of your pain, you might suffer from chronic venous disease. You should consult your doctor because different solutions exist (see section “Solutions”).
When I am at work, I stand for long periods of time. At the end of the day, my legs are often swollen and aching. Why is that?
This is due to the venous stasis occurring in your legs when you stand for long periods of time without moving them to promote an upward flow of blood to your heart. It can be chronic venous disease. You should consult your doctor because different solutions exist.
When and who should I consult?
If you regurlarly suffer from at least one of these symtpoms especially at the end of the day: heavy legs, leg pain, swelling sensation, night cramps, itching sensation and restless legs; and/or have signs such as varicose veins and leg edema, you should consult your general practitioner (GP). Your GP will proceed to a clinical examination, and if necessary, will refer you to a specialist (phlebologist, vascular surgeon or angiologist) for further examinations.
How can my doctor diagnose that I suffer from chronic venous disease?
Your doctor will mainly proceed to a clinical examination consisting of a simple visual examination and a palpation of your legs. Sometimes, for further investigations, he will use a noninvasive instrument known as an echo-doppler to look at the blood flow inside your leg veins and determine if there is any reflux.
What are the lifestyle measures to prevent chronic venous disease symptoms?
Can practicing a sport delay the occurrence of chronic venous disease?
It depends on the sport you practice. Some sports, such as walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing, are beneficial since they promote the upward flow of blood to your heart, hence the venous circulation, through the contraction of your leg muscles. In contrast, high-impact sports such tennis, basketball, and football are not advisable because they dilate veins and slow down venous return.
Can the contraceptive pill induce varicose veins?
All hormonal treatments have a negative impact on veins. For instance, in case of medical history of phlebitis, contraceptive pills are contraindicated. However, impact intensity depends on the pill because several dosages exist. The new generation pills, containing a low dose of progestin and/or estrogenic hormones, have a weak influence on varicose veins unlike the older generations of pills that may increase the risk of occurrence. To find the contraceptive pill that best suits you, you should consult your gynecologist.
Pregnancies are a risk factor for chronic venous disease, what can I do to reduce this risk?
Pregnancies are not that problematic; one can avoid making the problem worse by taking daily lifestyle measures (see section “Tips”). In addition, if you present any symptoms or signs of chronic venous disease, some effective treatments can be followed in order to stop its progression and prevent complications, even in pregnant women.
Does sleeping with the legs slightly elevated promote venous return?
Yes, by elevating the footboard by 10 to 15 cm, you ease the venous return, with the only condition; you do not suffer from heart failure.
Can losing weight relieve my symptoms?
Overweight and obesity are considered factors leading to a worsening of venous insufficiency. Hence, if you are overweight, losing weight may relieve your symptoms.
Is there a way to fight against varicose veins?
The occurrence of varicose veins is partly due to genetic and environmental factors. One may act on the latter component by following lifestyle measures (see section “Good habits”) that will help reduce their risk of occurrence or progression to more severe stages. In addition, some effective treatments (such as compression therapy and venoactive drugs on top of lifestyle measures) can be followed right from the early signs of chronic venous disease in order to stop its progression and prevent complications.
What about the evolution of the chronic venous disease?
At the beginning, I only suffered from heavy legs, but now I also have leg pain and a swelling sensation. Are these problems going to worsen?
It can be chronic venous disease. This is a progressive disease that can lead to serious complications that are difficult to cure such as varicose veins, edema, or ulcers.
My family doctor diagnosed me with chronic venous disease. What is the evolution without any treatment?
Chronic venous disease is a chronic and progressive disease due to an inflammatory process that damages the venous structures (see section “Understand”). As a result, it may lead to complications such as varicose veins, edema, or ulcers. That is why it is of the utmost importance to be treated right at the beginning of the disease.