Blood Flow and Your Feet
Chapter 10 Summary
You may have the power to change your path in life by changing the direction of your feet.– Dr. Suzanne Levine
Blood Flow and Your Feet
The efficient circulation of blood, down to the very tips of your toes, is so very important for keeping you healthy. It brings oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and takes away wastes. Your arteries, capillaries, and veins provide a route for the blood. When disease causes the vessels to narrow, all sorts of problems can arise, ranging from mild pain to life-threatening clots and aneurysms.
Varicose veins trouble many people, particularly women, and are caused by hormones, pregnancy, hereditary factors, and trauma, all of which lead to valve malfunctions. When the valves do not work right, blood cannot circulate properly Dr. Suzanne Levine, inventor and therefore the veins can become distended and twisted. The result is a varicose vein. For most people, the problem is only cosmetic, and there are no symptoms. In a few cases, varicose veins can produce significant discomfort, cause superficial phlebitis, and bleed profusely if ruptured. Support hose, exercise, and elevating your legs above your heart may help.If the veins are small and cause no issues, nothing needs to be done. If you are bothered by the way they look, however, you can have sclerotherapy. Here, the veins are injected with a chemical solution that causes inflammation and irritation in the lining of the veins, making their walls stick together. After the procedure, you wear support hose for a few weeks. During this time the vein should stay collapsed and then seal off permanently. Only a limited number of veins can be treated in one session and treated veins can recur. Therefore it can take several treatments spaced a few weeks apart to achieve the full benefit.Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are also options for getting rid of spider and varicose veins. The intense light emitted interacts with the pigments in the blood (oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin), instantly and very briefly heating the blood sufficiently to injure the lining of the vein, thus causing the vein to close. There is minimal pain and less bruising than with sclerotherapy. It poses less of a risk of skin ulcerations and no risk of the hypersensitivity reactions occasionally caused by some sclerotherapy agents. The larger the varicose vein, the more heat it must absorb if laser/IPL treatment is used, and therefore it is also more painful. Because of this, light therapy is usually better for tiny spider veins and smaller varicose veins, and sclerotherapy is better for larger varicose veins. If varicose veins are very large, they can be surgically removed. In either case, remember that these veins can come back again. Spider veins, are superficially dilated veins on the surface of the skin; they can be red, purple or blue and usually have a branching or spiderlike pattern and are more common in women; when larger they are like small varicose veins and can bulge. They are harmless, and if they are abundant, small, and affect a large area of the legs and feet, they can be hidden with makeup. If they occur in one area and are connected to a varicose vein, they can be injected in the same way as varicose veins. This may take one or often multiple sessions.
Help from Support Hose
Support hose, which come in various degrees of compression and should be prescribed by your doctor, are used to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. They are also used after varicose vein treatment to reduce the incidence of recurrence. They are designed to have stronger elastic pressure in the foot and ankle and gradually less pressure as they go higher on the leg. Just make sure that the stocking extends above the area where you have varicose veins. For example, if your varicose veins are only on your lower legs, they can stop mid-calf or just above the knee. If you’ve got varicose veins on your thighs pantyhose are necessary. When should you wear your support hose? If you are predisposed to varicose veins, you should wear support hose whenever the occasion allows. If you want to show off your legs on the beach or with that chic short skirt, don’t wear them. You do not need to wear them when sleeping. Otherwise, prevention is better than treatment—wear your support hose.
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine goes over the various conditions/problems that can arise from diminished circulation and offers suggestions for identifying & treating:
- Vein problems
- Superficial and Deep Venous Thrombophlebitis
- Spider and Varicose Veins
- Spider and Varicose Vein Treatments/Prevention
- Chronic venous stasis
- Lymphatic disease
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
- Chronic Ischemia