Venous Disease and What are its Causes?
Our venous system is one part of the important network of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen to and from the cells.
Venous disease refers to any disease or injury to the venous system, and can be caused by many factors. The lifestyle of an individual can increase the risk for venous diseases. If a person is obese or a person smokes, drinks excessive amounts of alcohol or eats fatty foods, it can lead to blood thickening and obstruction of the vessels by fatty deposits or plaque formations. Pregnancy as well as medications can also lead to problems of the venous system. Likewise, this system can also be damaged by trauma or illnesses and diseases like diabetes.
Examples of Venous Disease
Varicose veins are considered a venous disease, a condition where superficial veins bulge and can be further increased through pregnancy.
Venous thrombosis is a condition where the vein is occluded by a blood clot and is more common in the legs. There are two types of venous thrombosis – superficial and deep vein thrombosis. Superficial vein thrombosis is the milder of the two, whereas deep vein thrombosis can be life threatening especially if the thrombus is dislodged and travels to major organs like the lungs, heart or brain. In this type of condition, the patient will need anticoagulation medications to keep the blood thin and prevent the formation of blood clots.
Leech Therapy Used in Treating Venous Diseases
Leech therapy has been proven to help patients suffering from venous diseases. It can help reduce the pain and the swelling felt from varicose veins, and can help dissolve blood clots that have formed. But leech therapy is not effective for patients whose venous disease is caused by insufficient valves and inadequate vessel dilation.
The saliva of leeches is known to contain beneficial enzymes. They have anticoagulation properties that help prevent blood from coagulating or thickening. Aside from this, there is also an enzyme that breaks up formed blood clots which can occlude the veins. These two properties function to make the blood thin so that it flows freely in the veins. To further aid in this function, another enzyme acts as a vasodilator to allow better flow of blood.
Leech’s saliva also has antibacterial properties, which helps individuals who have open sores complicated by venous disease.
Leech therapy is best used in conjunction with compression stockings, weight management, diet, and exercise.