Which veins have no valves

Regularly run away from the weak veins

Healthy legs

07/25/17 (ams). If the ankles are swollen in the evening and the legs feel tired, this indicates a venous weakness, also known as venous insufficiency. Vein weakness begins when the venous valves no longer close properly. These valves ensure that the blood in the legs does not sag towards the foot, but flows back to the heart. If the veins are permanently dilated, irregularly meandering and visible as bumps, then one speaks of varicose veins. They are also known as "varicose veins" or "varices". Varices can shimmer purple or bluish through the skin, are swollen, and sometimes protrude clearly. Varicose veins are not a question of age. Even women around 30 can have bluish veins or small branching blood vessels called spider veins. But the frequency increases with age. An estimated 20 percent of adults get varicose veins, women more often than men. The most common varicose veins that shimmer through the skin are purple or bluish on the calves or inside of the legs.
Many people find the less pronounced version, the spider veins, annoying. They are so called because their fine branches under the skin are reminiscent of thin twigs (sticks). "Not every varicose vein is an alarm signal. Especially not spider veins. Mostly it is only a cosmetic problem and not a health problem," says Anja Debrodt, a doctor in the AOK Federal Association. Long periods of sitting and little compensatory movement can turn the weak veins into a disease. Even being very overweight affects the veins. Some people have a hereditary tendency to develop varicose veins. In women, varicose veins often appear for the first time during pregnancy. The hormonal changes in the body tissue and the additional weight make it harder for the blood to drain out of the leg veins. Even being very overweight increases the pressure in the legs and veins, which especially in women favors the development of varicose veins.


Ready-to-broadcast radio o-tones with Anja Debrodt, doctor in the AOK Federal Association

In men, weak veins only become visible at a later stage because their connective tissue is stronger. Brown discoloration of the skin or eczema often appear before varicose veins become visible in men. If symptoms such as heavy, tired or swollen legs, sensation of heat, tingling, pulling or tightness or even a pulling, stabbing pain in the legs occur, those affected should definitely consult a doctor.

But not only veins can cause problems in the leg, arteries too. Those affected do not notice any visually protruding vessels in the early stages, but feel a typical pain: While you can walk normally on a straight stretch, one leg suddenly hurts when climbing stairs or when it is a little steeper uphill. As soon as you stop, the pain immediately subsides. From the outside, this walk with breaks looks like a shopping spree. Therefore, intermittent claudication is also used colloquially. Anyone who feels this typical pain when walking or climbing stairs should ask a doctor for advice. Doctors call the blood flow problem in the leg arteries "peripheral arterial occlusive disease" (PaVK). Mostly people over 60 years of age, smokers and people with diabetes are affected.
Even if the causes and clinical pictures of vein and artery problems in the legs are different, you can literally run away from both of them. "Go against it consistently," says doctor Debrodt. "People who are predisposed to varicose veins can hardly prevent them. But their pathological sequelae can." The AOK expert recommends moderate training such as running, hiking, Nordic walking, cycling and swimming. It is important to stimulate the blood circulation in the legs several times a week and to train the muscles. Here Debrodt recommends at least half an hour of exercise three times a week. Strong leg muscles support the veins in pumping the blood back to the heart. In the early stage of "intermittent claudication", walking training can improve the oxygen supply to the affected area. Bypassing cycles can form. It is important that the training takes place regularly; it should always be agreed with the doctor.
But even small exercises can help in everyday life, for example simple foot exercises for longer sessions at the desk or on the plane: alternately lift the forefoot and heels ten times and hold for two seconds.
 

To the ams guide 07/17

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