The primary function of the arteries is to carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the blood. On the other hand, the veins carry the blood back to the heart. Veins have valves that stop the blood from flowing backward. Chronic venous insufficiency or peripheral Venous Insufficiency, a venous disease develops when the veins have trouble sending the blood from the limbs back to the heart. Since the blood does not get back to the heart, it causes blood to pool in your legs’ veins.
While there are various causes of venous insufficiency, the most common cause is varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots). Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is usually characterized by pain, cramps, and discomfort in your lower leg. You may also notice the development of spider veins on the lower limbs.
According to the American Heart Association, about 2.5 million individuals experience venous insufficiency in America. Out of these, about 500,000 people develop non-healing ulcers in the future. Besides discomfort and pain, people suffering from this condition may also notice the dark color on their legs. The skin on the leg also starts to have a leathery texture.
Causes of Chronic Venous Insufficiency
As mentioned previously, the leading causes of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) are varicose veins and blood clots. Healthy veins are responsible for a continuous flow of blood from the limbs to the heart. Varicose veins and blood clots disrupt the normal functioning of the veins. These conditions lead to the obstruction that restricts the blood from flowing forward through the veins. Blood clots block the veins, making it hard for the blood to flow. In the case of varicose veins, the valves that stop the blood from flowing back are often impaired or missing, forcing the blood to leak back.
In some cases, the leg muscles that help push the blood forward can also weaken, leading to venous insufficiency. According to Cleveland clinic reports, venous insufficiency is more common in women than in men. The report further indicates that the condition is more likely to affect adults over 50 years. Other venous insufficiency disease risk factors include:
Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency
The seriousness of chronic venous insufficiency and the treatment complexity increase as the disease progresses. As such, seeking medical intervention on the onset of the symptoms is crucial. Contrary to what most people believe, the problems will not go away on their own. However, when the diseases are treated earlier, you will have a better chance of preventing serious complications. The common symptoms for chronic venous insufficiency include:
When left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can result in pressure building in the veins. The increase in pressure causes the swelling to increase, forcing even the smallest blood vessels (capillaries) to burst. When the capillaries burst, the overlying skin changes the color and acquires a reddish-brown color. The skin is also susceptible to being broken if scratched or bumped.
Burst capillaries lead to various conditions. At the very least, they can cause internal tissue inflammation or damage. In severe cases, they can lead to an open sore on your skin surface. Even worse, venous stasis ulcers take a long time to heal, making them susceptible to infections. When the infections are not treated, they rapidly spread to the surrounding tissues.
Additionally, chronic venous insufficiency is also associated with twisted or enlarged veins close to the skin. While this condition can occur anywhere throughout the body, it often occurs in the legs.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency – Diagnosis
Your doctor will start by doing a comprehensive physical examination. The doctor will also take your medical history to figure out whether you have chronic venous insufficiency. Your physician may also order an imaging test that pinpoints the problem source. Some of the standard imaging tests for diagnosing CVI include duplex ultrasound and a venogram.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency – Treatments
Similar to other diseases, venous insufficiency is easy to manage during the earliest stages. Lifestyle changes, vascular medicine, and vascular surgeries are also significant in managing chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). The treatment often depends on various factors, including the underlying cause, health status, and history. Some of the other factors to consider include;
- The specific symptoms
- The condition severity
- Your age
- Your capability in tolerating the medications and medical procedures
Treatments for CVI’s main aim are to improve the blood flow in your legs. The treatment includes various strategies, including natural ways to improve blood circulation, special elastic stockings, medications, non-surgical treatments, and microsurgeries.
Natural Ways to Treat Venous Insufficiency
It is essential to point out that there is no distinctive way of reversing the causes of chronic venous insufficiency. However, plenty of strategies can help reduce the impact of the reflux caused by the damaged valve. Through a combination of these strategies, the patient eventually becomes symptom-free. The following home remedies help in managing the condition.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency nonsurgical treatments include Sclerotherapy, Radiofrequency Ablation, Endovenous Thermal Ablation, venous stripping, and Angioplasty.
So when is surgical treatment necessary? Sometimes the home remedies, medications, and nonsurgical treatments are not enough, especially when the disease is at an advanced stage. However, there is still hope. Surgical treatments help in treating advanced CVI. Some of the common surgical treatments
Ambulatory phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure, meaning that you do not have to spend the night in the medical facility. This minimally invasive procedure involves your doctors numbing various spots on your leg, making tiny pricks, and removing small varicose veins.
Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Preventable?
Yes, indeed, just like most of the other diseases, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is preventable. Taking the following measures will help in decreasing the risk of contracting the condition, especially if your family has a history of CVI.
- Avoid sitting or standing in one position for extended periods. Taking frequent breaks and moving around will help the blood to circulate.
- Avoid smoking and if you do, quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat a balanced diet and take the supplements recommended earlier
- Follow a strict exercise routine. Exercising frequently promotes optimal blood circulation.
Treatments for Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are harmless. Most people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. However, treatment will also alleviate the mild yet persistent discomfort this condition sometimes causes.
Are You at Risk for Chronic Venous Insufficiency Disease (CVI)?
See of you are at risk for Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It is a simple 7 questions quiz to see if you might be at risk for CVI.
What to Expect from Your Visit to Pedes
Your treatment will begin with an ultrasound examination of your veins, arteries, or both, in your legs to diagnose the presence and extent of the disease. Your test results will be immediately available to review with the doctor.
Once we review the results of your diagnostic tests, our physicians will help you develop a plan to provide you with the best treatment for your disease.
Depending on the extent of disease in your arteries or veins, our specialists may recommend minimally invasive intervention and/or prescribe medications to help your symptoms.
It is important to make sure that you return for every scheduled follow-up appointment to ensure that your disease is appropriately monitored. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please call or schedule a follow-up appointment with our staff.