CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Our veins bring the blood that's been pumped throughout our bodies back to our hearts. Issues with our veins can impact our health in multiple ways, including our mobility.
When it comes to issues with our veins, sometimes the signs are clear.
"You can actually see spider veins or varicose veins," Dr. Joseph Cipriano of Lumiere Cosmetic Vein Center in Cape Coral said.
But other times, vein problems aren't visible.
"It's a much more insidious problem, smoldering in the background and causing issues," he said.
Dr. Cipriano said spider veins can be a sign of what's called venous insufficiency.
"Venous insufficiency is, simply put, the difficulty of blood getting back to your heart from your legs. Literally, the valves have broken in your legs for one reason or another," he said.
Things like having a baby, having a job that requires prolonged standing or heavy lifting, and frequent long air travel can all cause venous insufficiency.
"The blood essentially backs up, inverts valves, and those valves break," Dr. Cipriano said.
He said to think about the way your body is laid out. When you're standing, because of gravity, your weight and other factors, your legs are the most difficult point to get blood back to your heart. Dr. Cipriano said this can lead to pressure in your veins that can cause ulcers or wounds.
He said venous insufficiency is a problem that gets worse year after year, decade after decade.
"This usually starts in patients in their 20s and 30s, and actually reveals itself to be as bad as it can be in their late, like either fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth decade of life," Dr. Cipriano said.
He said it can lead to other serious problems, like mobility issues or pain and discomfort in your legs.
"What would you say is the biggest reason people should care about their vein health?" Fox 4 Morning News Anchor Lisa Greenberg asked Dr. Cipriano.
"Movement is life. If you're looking at trying to stay healthy and stay active, and live the best life you can, having optimal venus function and return from your legs, you can stay active and mobile," Dr. Cipriano said. "If you get diseased legs, diseased veins, and lack of function, it just starts a downward spiral in the wrong direction, ultimately making it hard to recover."