Covid-19 affects on veinsIn addition to fever, cough, and shortness of breath, symptoms of  COVID-19 can also be associated with the vascular system. How exactly do you recognize how COVID-19 affects veins? Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding COVID-19

There are many different types of coronavirus, but the one responsible for this pandemic is called SARS-CoV-2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified COVID-19 as a respiratory tract infection that can compromise both the upper and lower respiratory systems. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat

Other symptoms include loss of taste and/or smell, fatigue, body aches, chills, nausea, and diarrhea.

How COVID-19 Affects Veins

Researchers and doctors have discovered that, in addition to the symptoms listed above, COVID-19 also affects the vascular system. Made up of your veins, heart, blood, and even your brain, the vascular system presents a whole other set of symptoms including:

  • Increased blood clots
  • Increased strokes
  • “COVID toes,” in which one or more toes may swell and turn a pink, red, or purplish color.

You might be wondering how a respiratory disease can lead to blood clots. It all starts when the virus infiltrates the endothelial cells in the lungs. This in turn can contribute to the development of blood clots, according to a study published in the New England Journal of MedicineA group of researchers also found that 1.6% of adults with COVID-19 experienced an ischemic stroke — a type of stroke that occurs when a blockage prevents adequate blood flow from getting to the brain.

As for COVID toes, experts warn that what looks like a rash are actually microclots in the toes’ small vessels. This is just another example of the way this virus affects veins and blood vessels.

The good news is that anticoagulants show promising results for individuals with severe cases of COVID-19. These same anticoagulants may help reduce the risk of serious vascular-related complications of COVID-19 including heart damage, strokes, and deep vein thrombosis, all of which can cause death in some patients. Also, the usual recommendations on how to keep your veins healthy also help to support them during a COVID-19 infection.

Things like:

Not smoking

Smoking negatively affects your veins, including the ones in your lungs. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes can both harden and narrow the walls of your veins. If you don’t smoke, you should not start and if you do smoke, you should quit. Your overall health will thank you.

Exercising regularly

Exercising regularly — and just being generally active. Try to aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day by walking, jogging, dancing, and biking. Also do try to stay active throughout the day. For instance, if you sit at a desk, you really need to get up at least once an hour and walk around.

Managing pre-existing health conditions

If you have any underlying health condition that might impact your veins, you need to manage that disease. For example, the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can also weaken your blood vessels.

Stop putting off your vein care

The current wisdom is not to postpone your care during COVID-19, especially if you’re already experiencing the signs of vein issues. We have strict coronavirus guidelines in place designed to keep you and our staff safe. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 970-242-VEIN (8346) if you have any questions or to schedule a visit.

mental health vein health connectionMost people agree that physical health and mental health are linked. That is evidenced by the fact that living with chronic illnesses including venous disease can negatively impact yout mental wellness. The converse is also true: poor mental health takes a toll on your physical health, making underlying problems worse.

Really, anything that decreases your energy can lead to fatigue, inactivity, and weight gain, beginning a cycle of illness that then increases your risk of complications of vein disease. These complications can include painful bulging varicose veins, heavy, aching, swollen legs, night cramps, bleeding veins, skin changes including ulcers, and superficial and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

But it is not all bad news. As long as you are open to understanding the interconnectivity of your mind and body, you will be more empowered to make the effort to get proper care and to make the necessary changes in order to have a better quality of life. Even a modest improvement can make a difference in your overall health and well-being.

Poor Mental Health Impacts on Vein Health

As we mentioned previously, stress and poor mental health can have deleterious effects on the body causing:

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

And as it turns our, most of these are well-documented risk factors for developing varicose veins and blood clots in the legs. Symptoms of these conditions include:

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

Of course, if your mental health ever diminishes to the point that you can no longer care for yourself, you need to seek professional psychiatric care. There is nothing wrong with getting the help you need, especially when your life depends on it.

Mental Health Self-Care

That leaves us with the ways to take care of your mental health. This has become especially difficult during the pandemic. But the more of these you can incorporate, the better off you will be:

  • Doing things that keep your mind sharp, like puzzles, or learning about a subject that fascinates you.

  • Reading books or watching movies that inspire you and fuel your mind.

  • Practicing self-compassion and acceptance.

  • Engaging in activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis.

  • Putting time and energy into building and maintaining relationships with others.

Taking care of yourself not only physically but also mentally is extremely important. Take time to reflect on some of the things you can do to improve your health today!

For more self-care strategies, see https://www.verywellmind.com/self-care-strategies-overall-stress-reduction-3144729.

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Grand Junction Vein Center

2373 G Road #280
Grand Junction, Colorado. 81505
On the second floor of the Canyonview Medical Plaza
Tel: 970-242-VEIN (8346)