- What are deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins?
- What are the top contributing factors to DVT and varicose veins?
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- Aging and weakening veins.
- Genetics and family history.
- Hormonal changes.
- How do compression stockings help to treat DVT and varicose veins?
Behind the graceful steps and experienced strides of every senior lie potential risks that can affect their vascular health. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins are two common vascular conditions that can significantly impact the well-being and mobility of seniors.
What are deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins?
As described by Dr. Ravi S. Sidhu of the Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery, deep venous thrombosis refers to the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs. “Veins are the ‘pipes’ that bring blood back to the heart,” he explains, “In the legs, there are superficial veins (close to the skin) and deep veins (between the muscles). When the blood clots in these deep veins, it is called a DVT.”
“Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin,” informs HealthLinkBC, “They are most common in the legs and ankles…Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves and veins in your legs. Normally, one-way valves in your veins keep blood flowing from your legs up toward your heart. When these valves don’t work as they should, blood collects in your legs, and pressure builds up. The veins become weak, large, and twisted.”
What are the top contributing factors to DVT and varicose veins?
They include a sedentary lifestyle, aging and weakening veins, obesity, genetics and family history, hormonal changes and smoking.
A sedentary lifestyle.
This is characterized by long periods of sitting or inactivity. In other words, being a couch potato can significantly increase the risk of DVT and varicose veins in seniors. Lack of movement can hinder proper blood circulation, leading to blood pooling in the legs. Continuous pressure on the veins impedes proper blood flow, causing the veins to swell and become distorted.
Regular physical activity, such as walking, stretching and leg exercises, is crucial in promoting healthy blood flow and reducing the likelihood of these conditions. Seniors in occupations or situations that require prolonged standing or sitting should take regular breaks, elevate their legs, and incorporate movement to improve circulation.
Aging and weakening veins.
The older we get, the more the walls of our veins gradually lose their elasticity and strength. This makes them more prone to developing varicose veins. Similarly, the risk of DVT increases with age due to factors like decreased mobility, underlying health conditions and a higher prevalence of chronic diseases. Seniors should be vigilant in monitoring their vein health and seek medical advice if they notice any signs or symptoms.
We all know that poor nutrition is bad for your overall health. Of course, bad food choices (consuming an abundance of sugar-based and processed foods, for example) can lead to obesity. Obesity places excess strain on the veins, increasing the risk of DVT and varicose veins. The additional weight can impede blood flow, leading to vein dilation and valve dysfunction.
Overweight or obese seniors should focus on maintaining a healthy weight. The solution is no secret. It’s all about eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. This will alleviate the burden on their veins and reduce the likelihood of these conditions.
Genetics and family history.
Genetic predisposition plays a role in the development of DVT and varicose veins. If a senior has a family history of these conditions, his/her risk is elevated. Certain genetic factors affect vein structure and function, making them more susceptible to venous disorders. Of course, genetics cannot be changed. Therefore, understanding the family history and discussing it with healthcare professionals can help seniors take preventive measures and manage their vascular health effectively.
Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy or while taking hormone replacement therapy can weaken the vein walls and affect blood circulation.
“Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for dilation of those small veins, which makes them more visible on the skin’s surface,” explains Canada Vein Clinics, “Those hormones can also weaken the vein walls, leading to reflux inside the veins and resulting in enlarged veins that can become visible as well.”
Seniors experiencing hormonal shifts should be aware of the potential impact on their veins and discuss any concerns with their health care providers.
There are zero health benefits of smoking cigarettes. Zero. No one needs to be reminded that they are cancer-causing agents. But, as Canada Vein Clinics informs us, smoking is related to varicose veins and overall vein health through the damage it causes to the heart.
“The nicotine and carbon monoxide can cause damage to the walls of your blood vessels – this can make it easier for plaque and other substances to stick on their walls,” says their website, “This weakening of the venous walls, causes irreparable damage to the one-way valves in your veins, which can ultimately lead to the condition of varicose veins. When the valves in your veins malfunction they lead to the pooling of blood in your lower extremities which is when the varicose veins begin to form.”
How do compression stockings help to treat DVT and varicose veins?
Wearing compression stockings or wraps helps to improve blood flow in the affected leg and reduce swelling. Compression garments apply graduated pressure, exerting the highest pressure at the ankles and gradually decreasing pressure as they move up the leg. This promotes better circulation and prevents blood from pooling.
The pressure on your legs helps blood vessels work better. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to your muscles can relax, so blood can flow freely and veins get a boost pushing blood back to your heart.
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we have certified fitters to help you choose the best compression solution to help you live better and healthier. We always ensure that you have the complete picture to make an informed decision. You’ll know all of the possible options so you can choose which solution is best for you. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!