When the veins in your legs stop letting blood pump back to your heart, you develop venous insufficiency. The valves in your veins are supposed to pump your blood, but weakened or malfunctioning valves can cause blood pooling in the legs, a sign of chronic venous insufficiency.
Other symptoms of the condition can include leg pain, varicose veins, leg ulcers and cramps. But what is the link between venous insufficiency and heart disease or failure?
Can Venous Insufficiency Affect the Heart?
If you have heart disease or heart failure, you may experience venous insufficiency. However, it doesn’t work the other way. You won’t develop heart problems because you have venous insufficiency. More commonly, the latter is a symptom of heart problems. If you don’t treat underlying heart issues, venous insufficiency can worsen.
While pooling blood in your legs can lead to discomfort, it won’t impact your heart or its function. You may feel a cramping sensation in your legs from the blood pooling. The condition can also present as an achiness, and the veins in your leg could develop a ropey appearance. You may see changes in the skin tone in your legs. But your body adjusts to the excess blood, and any issues won’t travel up to the heart.
Heart issues can impact venous insufficiency, though. If you live with congestive heart failure, the pressure in your veins may result in leg swelling. Sometimes doctors see patients who think they have vein conditions because of the swelling, but it turns out they have heart conditions. Still, in that case, the vein insufficiency didn’t cause the heart problem. It merely became apparent because of the symptoms emerging at the same time.
Standing for extended periods can lead to venous insufficiency. The condition can also be genetic — as can heart disease. Pregnancy may contribute to the development of venous insufficiency as well.
The Best Diet for Venous Insufficiency
You can treat venous insufficiency in several ways to reduce symptoms such as achiness and pain. The same diet recommended to improve circulation and decrease vein issues can also combat heart disease and boost cardiovascular health. Suggestions include:
- Reducing red meat consumption: Plant-based diets lead to greater heart health. Red meat can raise the risk of heart disease, and limiting yourself to one or fewer servings per day will help with vein function.
- Adding avocado to your meals: Whenever you eat it, avocado is a winner. It has vitamin E, which can prevent blood clots, and vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory.
- Eating chia seeds: The tiny seeds can decrease bloating, putting less pressure on the legs.
Seek Treatment for Venous Insufficiency
While venous insufficiency may not make your heart problems worse, it is a condition you should treat. Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center has the experience and knowledge to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about your options.