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Drink plenty of water, exercise, stop smoking and adopt a healthy diet to help keep your veins healthy.ISTOCK.COM

Vein health may not be an issue that is given much consideration – that is, until there is a problem like chronic venous disease, a progressive, sometimes painful, condition that should be treated.

“Veins actually carry more than 60 per cent of the total blood volume of the body,” says Dr. Beverly Chan, a vascular surgeon at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Vascular Health Bronte clinic in Oakville, Ont. “Vein health is very important in terms of overall health and well-being, and it affects a lot of people in Canada. Over 25 per cent of Canadians are going to have chronic venous disease, so the health impact is huge.”

The disease affects the normal functioning of a particular type of one-way valves in the veins in the legs. When damaged, these valves don’t close properly, allowing blood to leak, flow downward with gravity, then pool in the lower portion of the leg.

Common symptoms related to every stage of chronic venous disease can include sensation of heavy and tired legs, swelling and/or burning, pain, functional discomfort, warmth or prickling, itchiness, night cramps and restless legs. As chronic venous disease progresses, small spider veins, large varicose veins, edema, or brown patches near the ankle may also appear.

Fortunately, options are available to manage the symptoms, from wearing compression socks and maintaining a healthy weight to making simple lifestyle changes, like elevating legs, not wearing high heels or taking hot showers and baths.

Those who are seeking healthy legs can also take Venixxa, an oral natural health product formulated to reduce the symptoms of mild-to-moderate chronic venous disease. Available without a prescription, it is formulated with micronized purified flavonoid fraction (MPFF) extracted from immature oranges.

That is the treatment that Lesley McVean, a 58-year-old resident of Oakville, has been taking. McVean was at risk of chronic venous disease because she had spent much of her career on her feet in various jobs, including hotel front-desk clerk and bartender, and she had gained some weight because of medication she was taking.

Ontario-based vascular surgeon Dr. Beverly Chan treats patients with chronic venous disease. Many seek help after having lived with the symptoms for years, she says, which can include heaviness, swelling or pain in the legs.SUPPLIED

Three years ago, intense itching and throbbing in her calves prompted her to turn to Dr. Chan. They were having a negative impact on her life. McVean didn’t feel like socializing and had trouble sleeping. “When you’re in pain, you don’t want to go out and be part of the community,” she explains. “Just wearing pants had become uncomfortable.”

About 70 per cent of Canadian women have at least one symptom associated with chronic venous disease – they can be more prone to the condition due to pregnancy. Other factors may include obesity, smoking, sitting or standing for extended periods of time.

Despite its prevalence, the disease often goes untreated because its symptoms appear slowly over time and those with the disease get used to living with it on a daily basis, as is the case with McVean.

“It may start gradually with achiness or heaviness in the legs, then can progress to itchiness, swelling and dermatitis,” says Dr. Chan. “By the time someone comes to me, they are worried about complications such as a blood clot in the leg or phlebitis. I ask them how long they’ve had varicose veins and they’ll say for 20 years or more.”

"[Vennixa] is really helpful in decreasing symptoms like swelling, heaviness and pain in the legs,” says Dr. Chan. “Patients should see an improvement in about two months. If they don’t, they should visit their family physician to investigate further and perhaps get a referral to a vein specialist.”

During McVean’s appointment, Dr. Chan recommended Venixxa and within two to three weeks, her leg pain and discomfort began to subside. “It really works,” says McVean. “I tell everyone about it now – including friends in my building. I also encourage them to see their doctors to discuss how they can manage their vein health.”

McVean continues to take Venixxa regularly and is still pleased with the results. “When the warm weather comes, I don’t hesitate to put on shorts,” she says. “I even get compliments on how good my legs look. They feel good, too, with less swelling and pain. I don’t think anyone should have to suffer from leg pain.”

Dr. Chan agrees. “There’s a huge spectrum of things we can do now to manage chronic venous disease,” she notes. For better vein health, she suggests that her patients stop smoking, drink plenty of water, exercise and adopt a healthy diet.

Venoactive treatments, like Venixxa, and compression stockings can help, or surgical procedures, if needed. “It’s important to generate more awareness about what’s available,” she adds. “After getting relief, so many of my patients say, ‘I feel so much better. I wish I had done it a lot earlier.’”

Learn more about how Venixxa can help relieve signs and symptoms of chronic venous disease.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.