Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)–the poor operation of blood vessels that return blood to the heart after traveling to every corner of the body—impacts about 2.5 million people in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. CVI can cause uncomfortable symptoms and dangerous complications. Let’s look at the causes and treatments of this prevalent health condition.
What Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Chronic venous insufficiency is a long-standing blood vessel disorder impacting mostly people age 50 and up. It occurs when the small check valves in the veins operate poorly, causing back-up and stagnation of blood in the lower extremities (feet, ankles and lower legs).
The symptoms of this concerning health issue include:
- Pain, achiness, and swelling in the lower legs, feet, and ankles
- Itchy, discolored, and roughly textured skin
- Burning, tingling, cramping, and feelings of leg restlessness
- Bulging, blue varicose veins and thread-like purple spider veins
Unfortunately, the severity of symptoms is not limited to physical discomfort and unsightly personal appearance. Untreated venous insufficiency can lead to leg ulcers or even deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
DVT refers to a blood clot that forms in veins with sluggish blood flow. These kinds of clots can break off from their site of origin and travel to the heart and/or lungs, creating a dangerous medical situation requiring immediate treatment.
What Commonly Causes CVI?
CVI has a wide range of causes, the chief of which is stagnant blood circulation and clotting in the legs. These clots arise from being sedentary–either habitually or episodically, as in the case of long vehicular or airplane trips or being confined to bed recovering from surgery or an illness.
The following conditions and problems also contribute to chronic venous insufficiency:
- Smoking (which constricts blood vessels)
- Family history of varicose veins and blood clots
- Lack of exercise
- Surgical wounds in the lower extremities
How Can Your Vein Clinic in Boca Raton, FL, Treat Venous Insufficiency?
Your vein doctor in Boca Raton is an expert in recognizing the signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. When you come to our vein clinic, he will go over your medical and medication history, ask you to detail your symptoms, and inspect your lower extremities. Also, he may do a Duplex ultrasound examination, which painlessly images the blood vessels in question and assesses their blood flow and structure.
From there, your doctor may advise at-home treatments, such as compression stockings, good hydration, leg elevation, and routine exercise. Some people, however, need treatments to reroute compromised blood flow or to surgically strip compromised veins.
Fortunately, the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute offers the following minimally invasive, state-of-the-art treatments for CVI:
- Endovenous laser ablation uses laser light to heat and close compromised blood vessels.
- Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves to eliminate varicose veins.
- Sclerotherapy involves injections of a chemical irritant into problematic veins, effectively closing them and rerouting blood flow to other blood vessels.
- Iliac vein stenting is commonly used for May-Thurner syndrome patients (compression of the iliac vein in the left leg), which opens closed veins.
Experienced Interventional Cardiologists in Boca Raton, FL
Dr. Eli Levine and Dr. Michael Schechter of the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute are board-certified physicians. When you meet with one of them to discuss your leg vein concerns, you will receive the finest in diagnostics and a treatment plan to relieve symptoms and improve your venous health for the long-term.
Call us at (561) 235-5621 to arrange an appointment, or request your visit with us online. We look forward to serving you.