Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that is characterized by damage to the veins in the legs. It occurs when your veins are unable to properly return blood from your legs to your heart. If left untreated, serious complications can arise.
Early treatment means more options available for the patient. In this blog, we will discuss chronic venous insufficiency, including the signs to look out for and how it is treated.
We will also share with you where you can get expert treatment for chronic venous insufficiency in Boca Raton.
What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency? Who is at Risk?
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that makes it difficult for the veins to return blood back to the heart. Your veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards, called venous reflux. However, they can become damaged, causing blood to pool in the legs. The telltale symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency – swelling and discomfort – are caused by this issue.
The most common cause of chronic venous insufficiency is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms deep in the vein, leaving scar tissue behind that damages the vein valve.
The risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency are the following:
- Age – Chronic venous insufficiency is more common in those over the age of 50.
- Family history – You are a greater risk if someone in your family has been diagnosed with the condition, as well.
- Obesity – The excess weight can increase pressure on the leg veins, making them susceptible to damage.
- Pregnancy – The extra weight during pregnancy also exerts pressure on the veins in the legs.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Weak calf muscles and sluggish blood flow in the legs can lead to blood pooling.
- Varicose veins – About 1 in every 50 adults with varicose veins develop chronic venous insufficiency.
What are the Early Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Chronic venous insufficiency usually produces symptoms. Pay attention to the following:
- Fatigue, pain, tightness, or a burning sensation in the legs that typically worsens as the day progresses.
- Discomfort and heaviness while walking or standing for extended periods, which tends to subside when resting or elevating the legs.
- Edema or swelling, particularly in your lower legs and ankles, which worsens after long periods of standing or by the end of the day.
- Restless legs, characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, often accompanied by discomfort or an unpleasant sensation.
- Leg cramps, especially during the night.
- Scaly, itchy skin on the feet, ankles, or legs.
- Visible spider veins or large, bumpy veins called varicose veins on the legs.
If you are experiencing new symptoms in your legs, have it checked by a doctor to determine if it could be early chronic venous insufficiency.
If left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can lead to serious complications, such as:
- Skin changes – As CVI progresses, skin discoloration and thickening can occur.
- Leg ulcers – Open wounds on your lower legs that can be painful and difficult to heal.
- Blood clots – When blood pools in your legs, it can cause a clot to form, which can be life-threatening if it travels to your lungs.
How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Treated?
CVI usually doesn’t go away by itself without medical intervention. The goal of treating chronic venous insufficiency is to manage the symptoms.
The vein doctor may recommend the following:
- Compression stockings: Compression provided by stockings can help with increasing blood flow and prevent blood pooling.
- Leg elevation: To alleviate pressure in your leg veins, your healthcare provider may recommend elevating your legs above the level of your heart for at least 30 minutes per day.
- Exercise: Engaging in regular walking and other forms of exercise can significantly improve blood flow in your leg veins. With each step you take, the contraction of your calf muscles helps squeeze and push blood upwards, aiding in its return to the heart.
- Weight loss: Excess weight can exert pressure on your veins and potentially damage the valves. Getting down to a normal weight is usually part of comprehensive CVI treatment.
- Medications: Blood thinners can help prevent blood clots that lead to further vein damage.
- Procedures: Vein stripping, endovenous thermal ablation, and sclerotherapy are procedures that can treat CVI by removing or destroying damaged veins.
Top Vein Doctor in Boca Raton, FL
Our board-certified interventional cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute specialize in the treatment of venous diseases. At our vein clinic, we provide comprehensive services for patients with spider veins, varicose veins, and chronic venous insufficiency.
Find out how our vein doctors can treat your vein issue. Schedule an appointment by calling our office today at (561) 235-5621. You can also use our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you achieve better vein health.