When you think of vein disease, your mind probably goes straight to your legs. While vein disease is most known for causing varicose veins, swollen legs and ankles, and other issues that impact the lower extremities, its influence does not end at the legs. According to Dr. Randall S. Juleff, our Louisiana vein doctor, there is a link between vein disease and stroke, a devastating disruption of blood flow to the brain that often ends in death.
What happens during a stroke?
In order to function normally, your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. Your blood provides your brain with the oxygen it needs, but this supply can be disrupted, leading to a stroke. If blood flow is interrupted, the brain does not receive the nutrients it needs, which can lead to the death of brain cells.
When a stroke victim receives prompt medical attention, there is a good chance that death can be averted. However, there is a high occurrence of disability among stroke survivors. Survivors can lose control over their muscles or become paralyzed altogether. Difficulty speaking, memory loss, and emotional problems are also common consequences.
Even with medical care, it is not uncommon for strokes to be fatal. In fact, over 140,000 people die of stroke every year in the United States.
How is vein disease connected to stroke?
For a stroke to occur, something must disrupt the flow of blood to the brain. According to New Orleans vein specialists, blood clots can cause this type of disruption. Deep vein thrombosis, a potential consequence of untreated vein disease, can lead to the types of clots that can cause a stroke.
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside the leg. Unlike clots in surface level veins, these clots have the potential to break off of the vein wall and travel through the blood stream. Now known as an embolus, the clot can travel to arteries that supply blood to vital organs, including the lungs and the brain. If an embolus disrupts blood flow to the brain, a stroke is likely to follow.
People suffering from vein disease are at a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis due to poorly functioning veins. Unlike healthy veins, which effectively circulate blood out of the extremities, diseased veins lead to sluggish blood flow that has a higher chance of allowing a blood clot to form.
Managing your stroke risk
Managing or treating your vein disease symptoms can help you take control of your stroke risk. If you are dealing with varicose or spider veins in New Orleans, consulting with a vein doctor can help you gain a better understanding of your vascular condition. From there, your doctor will make recommendations on how best to improve your vein health and decrease your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
For some patients, lifestyle changes such as weight management, regular physical activity, and compression therapy can help to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots. For other patients, minimally invasive vein treatments are the best choice to improve both aesthetics and health. The best New Orleans vein treatment centers are staffed by professionals who can help you make the right choice to manage your vascular health and reduce your stroke risk.
Stroke is a serious medical issue, but by taking steps to improve your vein health you can reduce your risk. Dr. Juleff and the staff at La Bella Vita Laser and Vein Center can help you make the changes you need. To learn more about who we are and how we can help, give our office a call. We look forward to meeting you!