Chronic inflammation in your veins

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By Dr. Sonja Stiller, Center for Advanced Vein Care

One of the biggest risks associated with Covid-19 is the development of blood clots. Autopsies of patients who have died from the disease have shown multiple deep vein thrombosis, suggesting that the virus causes abnormal blood clotting. This may explain why Covid-19 affects so many different organs in the body besides the lungs.

We’ve known all along that atherosclerosis—the build-up of plaque on the walls of arteries—is a bad thing, but now more than ever it is important to improve the health of our circulatory system, which we can impact by reducing inflammation. Even coronary heart disease is known to be a chronic inflammatory condition.

Since our practice reopened in early May, we’ve been paying more attention to underlying risk factors associated with Covid-19. My job is veins, so we focus on minimizing inflammation and the risk for blood clots. As a result, our conversations with patients go beyond just varicose veins. We discuss diet, exercise and the potential need for venoactive supplements. Our goal is to improve your body’s response to infection and avoid a “cytokine storm”—an overreaction of you immune system seen with Covid-19.

Healthy veins “take out the trash” by eliminating metabolic waste from the body. Chronic venous insufficiency—including varicose veins—allows that trash to build up in your body which propagates chronic inflammation. Pay attention to the following symptoms, which can be related to inflamed veins, a condition that places you at greater risk of blood clots:

• chronic leg pain
• fatigue
• itching
• burning
• inflammation
• Restless Leg Syndrome
• leg cramps or swelling

Dr. Sonja Stiller is a diplomat of both the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. She is the founder of the Center for Advanced Vein Care, a Tier 1 provider with Lake Health Hospital System, located at 7200 Mentor Avenue, in Mentor. For an appointment, call 440-710-1140. More information can be found at