Swollen legs and feet? If they occur especially at the end of the day and with the beginning of the first hot summers, they could be a sign of venous insufficiency. As Dr. Elisa Casabianca, a vascular surgeon in Humanitas, explains, the symptoms are caused by a stagnation of the blood in the veins of the legs, which leads to a release of liquids and inflammatory substances in the most sloping points that the lymphatic system cannot absorb.
Venous insufficiency affects women in particular; about half of those over 50 years of age suffer from it, and about 30% of younger women suffer from it. The main risk factors include family history, prolonged standing during the day associated with inadequate lifestyle, pregnancy and excess weight.
When should I contact a specialist?
In the presence of the characteristic symptoms, especially if associated with family history, it is always appropriate to have a specialist screening, even at a young age: the examination and a non-invasive test such as Eco Color Doppler allow you to immediately frame any venous insufficiency and stop the progress that has a chronic course.
In the case of proven tortuous and protruding surface veins, a radical intervention can be indicated in conjunction with prevention. Thanks to the latest mini-invasive innovations, this can be performed in day-hospital conditions without age limits.
What to do in case of venous insufficiency?
Before reaching surgery, concrete help comes from physical activity, in particular swimming, aqua gym or cycling in water, to be practiced at least 2-3 times a week. These activities activate the muscles of the legs and tone the wall of our veins, thus helping the blood to return to the heart.
You can also benefit from walking, on a flat or uphill slope, provided that you have the right footwear: the rhythmic support of the sole of the foot on the ground and the activation of the leg muscles are the “engine” of our veins.
For those who spend a lot of time standing, we recommend the use of elastic stockings with graduated compression, in order to facilitate the return of blood to the heart. There are many forms and invoices: once again the specialist can indicate which are the most correct for the patient’s situation.
Once at home, then, you can take relief by sitting and resting your legs slightly raised, a trick that you can take even while you sleep in the most obvious cases.