Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the result of the valves in your veins not working correctly. These valves prevent blood from regurgitating back into the vein and pooling. But with chronic venous insufficiency, the valves are faulty which results in blood flowing backward and pooling in the vein.
The most common cause of CVI is high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels, especially in the legs. The constant high pressure against the valves makes them weak and unable to effectively transport blood back to the heart.
The following other factors also could put you at increased risk of CVI:
A job that requires standing and/or sitting for long periods
Deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in the veins of the legs
Family history of CVI or blood clots
Trauma, injury, or surgery to the legs
Most patients have no symptoms of CVI. This is why if you experience any of the below symptoms, you should see a vein specialist right away. Common symptoms include:
Leg or ankle swelling
Pain while exercising or walking that subsides when you rest
Tight sensation in the legs or a feeling of itching in the legs
Discolored or brown skin near the ankles
Varicose veins or spider veins
Leg cramps and muscle spasms that are painful
Restless leg syndrome or an irresistible sensation to move the legs
Ulcers on the legs that are difficult to treat and slow to heal
CVI can be life-threatening if not treated and can lead to more serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
You can decrease your risk of CVI by eating healthy (avoiding foods high in sugar and carbohydrates), maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising, avoiding sitting and standing for long periods of time and avoiding smoking.
Diagnosing CVI is relatively straightforward. We will ask you about your medical history and will examine your legs for any visible signs of venous disease, such as skin discoloration or swelling. After an initial examination, our team of experts will perform a painless duplex ultrasound, which will allow us to view the veins and determine the speed of the blood flow and the direction it is flowing. If you suffer from CVI due to faulty valves, it will be easily seen during this test.
There are a number of treatments for CVI that range from conservative to invasive. Depending on your condition, we may recommend the use of compression stockings to help with swelling and various treatments for skin problems such as ulcers or itching. Exercise is also a common therapy.
Long days of teaching exacerbated the burning and restless feelings in Kendra Brauer’s legs. The bruises and visible veins also provoked curious questions from her second-grade students if she wore anything shorter than full-length pants. Brauer first noticed a bruise on her leg when she was in her mid-20s. Slowly, more veins showed up and […]