What Are the Functions of Valves in Veins?
Many individuals are unfamiliar with the purpose and function of vein valves. These tiny structures are essential components of your body’s circulatory system, and we want you to be aware that when damage occurs to your vein valves, your overall vein health can become compromised.
Damaged vein valves can lead to the development of varicose veins, spider veins, and other venous conditions. They can also place you at increased risk for dangerous health problems like blood clots and venous ulcers (open, non-healing wounds).
To avoid poor vein health, here’s what you should know about weak valves in leg veins, their symptoms, and effective vein treatment.
Why Do Damaged Vein Valves Matter?
Why are healthy vein valves important to the body’s circulatory system? Your circulatory system is made up of different types of blood vessels, including arteries and veins. While the arteries are responsible for delivering blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body, your veins have the important job of returning blood to the heart for reoxygenation.
Within your veins are tiny, one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward, or away from the heart. When veins are placed under strain, your vein valves can become damaged and start malfunctioning. We know that genetics, aging, pregnancy, and lifestyle factors are contributing factors to this situation.
Damaged vein valves are a sign of venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. This common health condition is the underlying cause of varicose veins and spider veins. Weak valves in leg veins can also lead to a range of painful, uncomfortable, and potentially disabling symptoms, particularly in the legs, ankles, and feet. In severe cases, you may experience reduced mobility and quality of life.
Beyond potentially impacting normal daily activities, vein disease can also place you at increased risk for dangerous health conditions like blood clots and venous ulcers. Some of these, including a type of blood clot called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), can be life-threatening and require immediate emergency care.
You may be wondering, can valves in veins be repaired? Fortunately, effective treatment can alleviate painful symptoms, reduce additional health risks, and help you regain your quality of life. At USA Vein Clinics, we offer a range of minimally invasive, outpatient treatment options that can quickly improve blood flow and get you back to living life at its fullest.
What Causes Damaged Vein Valves?
There are many contributing factors that can place chronic strain on veins. Our vein specialists can help identify which ones apply to you. Common risk factors include:
- Being a woman
- Prolonged standing or sitting
- Poor diet
- Injury or trauma
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
If you are at increased risk for damaged valves in leg veins, we recommend consulting a vein specialist.
What Symptoms Are Caused by Damaged Vein Valves?
At this point, you may be wondering how to know if you have damaged valves in your leg veins. We suggest keeping an eye out for common symptoms affecting the legs, such as:
- Pain that subsides with leg elevation
- Skin discoloration
- Thickened skin
- Blood clots
- Open, non-healing wounds
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
If you experience any of the above, please obtain a full medical evaluation. At USA Vein Clinics, our leading vein specialists can diagnose, treat, and provide ongoing care for a range of venous conditions.
How Are Damaged Vein Valves Treated?
Our highly experienced and skilled vein specialists provide personalized treatment recommendations to meet the needs of each and every patient. During your initial consultation, we meet one-on-one to assess your condition, review your medical history, and determine what treatment is best for you.
If one of our minimally invasive procedures is recommended, we want you to know that it won’t require a hospital stay or lengthy recovery. In fact, most of our patients can leave immediately following treatment and return to their normal daily activities. You may be asked to temporarily wear compression socks and avoid strenuous activities.
Our treatments aim to close off damaged valves in leg veins and reroute blood flow to healthy, surrounding ones. Using real-time ultrasound guidance and the latest medical technology, we perform the following non-surgical vein procedures:
- Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)
- Varithena Foam Treatment
- Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy
- VenaSeal™ Closure System
How Can Vein Disease Be Prevented?
You may be able to implement healthy lifestyle changes that reduce your risk of developing damaged vein valves. Specifically, you may wish to consider the following:
Individuals who exercise regularly are more likely to have healthy veins. This is because physical activity gets your heart pumping and blood flowing throughout your body. Exercise can help prevent blood from pooling in your legs, alleviate leg pain and swelling, and reduce your risks for developing additional health conditions.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week. If you are currently sedentary, be sure to slowly work your way up toward this goal. Also, remember to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program!
Lose excess weight
Maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) can reduce ongoing strain on your veins and prevent damaged valves in leg veins. Of course, losing weight benefits not only your veins: it also reduces your risk of developing heart disease and many other health conditions.
If you are struggling to lose weight, try reaching out to your healthcare provider for additional resources. You may find that joining a medical weight loss center or commercial weight loss program offers the necessary support to achieve your health goals.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet can benefit your vein health. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. It is also important to avoid or limit unhealthy substances, including sodium, added sugar, saturated fats, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products.
Along with dietary improvements, we want to make sure that you drink enough water. Proper hydration can help keep high blood pressure in check and prevent dangerous blood clots. We suggest drinking at least eight glasses a day.
Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time
If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of standing or sitting, you may be at higher risk for varicose veins and other vein problems. Of course, this particular situation can be difficult to avoid.
To help mitigate your risks from sitting at your desk or standing in one place for long periods of time, we recommend taking frequent breaks to move around, stretch, massage, and elevate your legs. These simple activities promote better blood circulation and can help you avoid damaged valves in leg veins.
Wear compression socks
To prevent damaged vein valves, you may wish to ask your doctor or vein specialist about the benefits of using compression socks. Wearing compression garments on your legs, ankles, and feet can alleviate vein pain and discomfort while reducing your risks of varicose veins.
Visit a vein specialist
If you suffer from damaged vein valves or are at risk for developing them, we recommend close monitoring by a vein specialist. Our leading experts can help identify early signs of trouble and let you know when treatment is necessary. Most often, early intervention leads to the best possible health outcomes.
Minimally Invasive Vein Treatment at USA Vein Clinics
At USA Vein Clinics, we care about your vein health and quality of life. Whether you are at risk for developing damaged vein valves or already suffering from symptoms of vein disease, our vein specialists are available to help.
We perform a range of minimally invasive, outpatient vein treatments that can alleviate painful symptoms and reduce your risks of potentially serious complications. For personalized treatment recommendations, schedule an initial consultation with one of our experts today.
We offer 90+ clinic locations nationwide, along with telemedicine options. No matter where you choose to book your appointment, we look forward to helping you take back control of your life.