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The Mind-Body Connection: Poor Mental Health and Venous Disease

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Physical and mental health are linked. This is largely undisputed.

If you live with chronic illnesses, like venous disease, this can negatively impact your mental wellness. It goes in the other direction as well, as poor mental health takes a toll on your physical well being and any underlying vein problems you may have can worsen.

Long-term physical and mental illnesses can zap your energy leading to fatigue, inactivity, and weight gain. This cycle of illness can increase your risks of complications of vein disease including painful bulging varicose veins, heavy, aching, swollen legs, night cramps, bleeding veins, skin changes including ulcers and superficial (SVT) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Don’t let this information get you down. The good news is that there is hope to be better even if you are struggling to cope with the cycle of poor mental and physical health. Understanding how your mind and body are interconnected can empower you to seek out the care you need to help you make necessary lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life.

Poor Mental Health Contributes to Venous Disease

Stress and poor mental health take a toll on the body in different ways, leading to:

  • Low energy
  • Inactivity
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced immunity
  • Insufficient sleep

Unfortunately, inactivity and weight gain are both well documented risk factors for developing varicose veins and DVT (blood clots in the legs), symptoms of which may include:

  • Heavy, fatigued, sore legs
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Night cramps
  • Leg swelling and pain
  • Bulging varicose and unsightly spider veins
  • Difficulty standing or walking for long periods of time
  • Skin changes in color and texture

In some cases, mental illness is severe enough that the patient is unable to care for their own physical needs. In these cases, it is absolutely imperative to seek psychiatric care. Mental health care is healthcare!

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HAVE YOUR LEGS EVALUATED

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Venous Disease Contributes to Poor Mental Health

Chronic health conditions affect quality of life. Pain, discomfort, and physical limitations can lead to fatigue and depressed mood. This is equally true if you have venous disease. According to studies, patients with venous disease have comparable Quality of Life (QoL) scores to patients who have had heart attacks, strokes, and hip fractures. For patients who also have leg ulcers, the QoL score is comparable to patients who have had congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Essentially, having varicose veins can affect your mental wellness the same way living with heart disease of COPD would. Are you surprised? A lot of people are shocked by these results, but it’s not shocking when you consider how much venous disease interferes with daily life. Just listen to the stories of people just like you — mothers, firefighters, ex-military, and countless teachers — who suffered through painful, diseased veins, and how getting treatment changed their lives!

A Cycle of Poor Physical and Mental Health

The worse your mental health gets, the more your physical health suffers; the more your physical health worsens, the more your mental health declines. If you are living with mental or chronic physical illness, it’s important to know you are not alone and that help is available.

Seeking care for both mental and physical health problems is important. It is what is commonly referred to as a holistic approach to healthcare. By addressing both simultaneously, you increase the success of conquering both conditions.

How We Help You at Vein Specialists of the South

Our caring, compassionate team of vein specialists are here for you. Your quality of life is just as important as the condition of your veins, legs, and physical health. Our approach to vein health includes both lifestyle changes and procedures to treat affected veins. And while our lifestyle changes are geared toward improving your vein health, they are also a great way to improve your overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Our recommended lifestyle changes, known as our Better Veins for Life® principles, include:

  1. Exercise, necessary for healthy circulation and strong veins, is essential for overall physical health. Mental health advocates also highly recommend exercise for improved mood, enhanced energy, and better sleep. Take a walk, ride a bike, or go for a swim.
  2. Compression stockings for improved circulation, aiding blood flow from the feet back up to the heart. In patients with venous insufficiency, the blood struggles against gravity, pooling in the leg. This leads to varicosities and, in some cases, bulging veins and blood clots. A side-effect of compression and improved blood flow is increased energy, which improves mood. Compression also reduces leg fatigue and aching, symptoms that can cause mental fatigue.
  3. Leg elevation works similarly to compression, aiding circulation and reducing blood pooling in the legs. We recommend daily leg elevation, with feet above the heart, for best results. This also reduces leg swelling, aching, and throbbing.
  4. Sensible footwear and avoiding high heels to reduce pressure on the veins, and while this doesn’t have a direct impact on mental health, comfortable shoes lead to good vibes and fewer blisters.
  5. Weight loss, which helps reduce pressure which weakens vein walls. But weight loss also boosts energy and self-esteem. Both can help improve your mood.

 

Additionally, our walk in walk out procedures are performed under gentle local anesthesia in an office based setting. Your care is designed to meet your specific needs ;with a goal of treating your unhealthy veins and improving your quality of life as well. When the affected veins are addressed with one of our minimally invasive procedures, pain and discomfort associated with venous disease will quickly improve. Furthermore, if visible varicose veins or spider veins make you feel self-conscious in shorts or swimsuits, our procedures may be just the confidence boost you need.

Of course, these are bonus mental health benefits of lifestyle changes and vein procedures, but they will in no way cure a mental illness. We highly recommend seeking care from a psychiatrist or psychologist. Discuss your options with your primary care physician.

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Schedule a Vein Evaluation in Georgia

At Vein Specialists of the South, we offer multiple consultation options at several locations throughout Georgia. Telehealth appointments are also available, and our Virtual Vein service gives you flexibility prior to your first visit.

To get started on your path toward Better Veins for Life® and improved quality of life, contact us at Vein Specialists of the South. Our staff is available to speak with you to answer any questions you may have about our procedures, insurance and financing, and more.

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