This is the second in our series of articles on vein health with Dr. Beverly Chan, vascular surgeon at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Vascular Health Bronte clinic in Oakville, Ontario.
Every year, 20% of Canadian adults (that’s more than 4.8 million of us)i experience symptoms of chronic venous diseaseii, also known as chronic venous insufficiency. The disease affects valve function in the leg veins, causing blood to pool downwards into the lower leg.
Symptoms of chronic venous disease can include pain, and a sensation of heaviness and swelling in the legs. As chronic venous disease progresses, spider and varicose veins, edema, or brown patches may also appear around the ankle.
Here, Dr. Chan suggests five things to know about chronic venous disease and aging:
1. Age is one of a range of risk factors in chronic venous disease
There’s no specific age at which people should become more vigilant of the signs of chronic venous disease. It’s important to remember that developing the disease is not a necessary part of getting older. However, it can often crop up for the first time after 50iii – so if you’re entering that age bracket, be aware.
2. Symptoms of chronic venous disease can be more severe in older patients
The truth is that chronic venous disease symptoms are often worse among older folks, because exacerbating or contributing factors build up over time. For instance, certain patients may have had mild symptoms since their teens or twenties but never got treatment, meaning their symptoms slowly got worse. Ignoring the signs of chronic venous disease can eventually lead to severe swelling, skin discolouration or ulcers that can really affect quality of life – so stay on the lookout, and if in doubt, speak to your doctor.
3. Certain pre-existing conditions can increase risks
There are a range of health conditions that can increase your risk of developing chronic venous disease. They can include (but aren’t limited to) obesity, previous blood clots, and congenital disease. Like so many health conditions, knowledge is power. If it sounds like any of these things might affect you, keep a lookout for chronic venous disease as part of your overall health and wellness regimen, or speak with your family doctor at your next appointment.
4. A healthy lifestyle can help avoid developing chronic venous disease in later life
Yes, you’ve heard it before. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for overall health and wellness, but… it can also help you avoid developing (or exacerbating) chronic venous disease in later life. Wherever possible, avoid smoking, keep a healthy weight, and find ways to break up prolonged periods of sitting or standing (which isn’t always easy and does take practice). Daily aerobic leg activity that activates the calf muscle like walking, cycling or swimming can also help prevent signs and symptoms – so why not add chronic venous disease prevention to your list of reasons to exercise!
It’s worth repeating that not all of us will get chronic venous disease as we age, but if you do experience symptoms there are ways to manage it. Try elevating your legs when sitting down for relief from heavy, painful, swollen legs. Simple, but it works.
5. Treatments to help with symptoms do exist
Compression socks or velcro compression wraps can help, but over-the-counter products are available, including Venixxa, an oral, natural health product that uses micronized purified flavonoid fraction (MPFF). This might sound complicated but, essentially, the product helps relieve symptoms of mild to moderate Chronic venous disease.
Venixxa is the #1 over-the-counter doctor recommended brand for mild to moderate chronic venous diseaseiv, available in most drug stores and online. For more information about Venixxa click here or talk to your local pharmacist.
i Statistics Canada. Table 17-10-0005-01 Population estimates on July 1st, by age and sex. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/cv!recreate.action?pid=1710000501&selectedNodeIds=3D100,3D104&checkedLevels=0D1,1D1&refPeriods=20160101,20200101&dimensionLayouts=layout2,layout2,layout3,layout2&vectorDisplay=false
ii Leger 2019, Servier, Venixxa Patient Journey: Chronic Venous Disease. Quantitative Research Report, pp 20. (On File)
iii Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). Management and treatment. Accessed March 23, 2021. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16872-chronic-venous-insufficiency-cvi#management-and-treatment
iv IQVIA, using the ProVoice Survey in Canada, fielded to 812 physicians in Canada from October 2019 through September 2020 and recorded OTC product recommendations in the Signs and Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Chronic Venous Disease category, has validated the following claims at a 99% confidence level: “Venixxa is the #1 Doctor Recommended OTC brand in the Signs and Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Chronic Venous Disease category in Canada”