Risk Factors for Varicose Veins

As a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Marvin Derrick routinely performs corrective surgery on patients with peripheral vascular disease. Dr. Marvin Derrick maintains a busy varicose vein treatment practice at Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he focuses on the use of minimally invasive interventions.

A common vascular issue that affects 30 to 60 percent of adults, varicose veins are more common in certain populations than others. They affect women two to three times as often as men, due to both the strong presence of the hormone progesterone in females, and the stress to the lower extremities caused by pregnancy. Age also plays a role. Most varicose veins appear when a person is between 30 and 70 years old. The walls of the veins weaken during this period, allowing veins to stretch if they are disposed to do so.

In addition, there is a genetic factor to varicose veins, although the particular link is unknown; at this time, all that scientists know is that a family history of the condition puts a person at greater risk. Lifestyle factors are also influential, with those who stand or sit for long periods of time, putting more pressure on their veins, at greater risk.

Lastly, obesity is known to have a causal role. This is because excess weight makes the veins work harder, increasing the pressure in them and weakening the valves that prevent blood from pooling.

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What Is a Pacemaker?

A cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with more than two decades of experience, Dr. Marvin Derrick presently sees patients at DMH Heart & Lung Institute and serves as director of Decatur Memorial Hospital Cardiothoracic Surgical Services. In addition to major surgical procedures on the blood vessels, heart, and lungs, Dr. Marvin Derrick performs minor surgeries such as pacemaker placement.

The heart has an electrical system that controls the speed and rhythm of the heartbeat to keep blood flowing properly throughout the body. A disruption in this electrical system, which is called heart arrhythmia, can cause a fluttering sensation in the heart, a heartbeat that is faster or slower than normal, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fainting. Heart arrhythmias stem from a variety of conditions and lifestyle factors, including heart disease, congenital heart problems, smoking, and the use of certain medications.

A pacemaker is a small electronic device that replaces the body’s own natural electrical system when the heartbeat is too slow. Implanted in the chest, the pacemaker is comprised of two parts. The pulse generator contains a small computer and a battery and is placed just under the skin near the heart. The leads are insulated wires that connect the pulse generator to the heart muscle. The pacemaker is programmed by the surgeon to send an electrical impulse to the heart when the heart rate drops to a certain level, or when the heart stops beating altogether. This stimulation causes the heart muscle to contract and beat so that it maintains a steady rate and rhythm.