When the blood does not flow through the veins properly, it is considered to be a medical condition known as venous insufficiency. There are tiny valves in veins that help push the blood up the legs to the heart and lungs for purification. When these valves become weak, they are not able to function properly. In the legs, this may mean the blood pools in the veins, causing varicose veins and other disorders.
There are several different symptoms of venous insufficiency that depend on its severity and whether there is a blood clot. The most common symptoms are:
• Edema, which is the swelling of the ankles and calves
• Pain in the legs that gets relieved when you raise your legs
• Cramps in the calves
• Aching or throbbing in the calves
• The feeling of heaviness in the legs
• Itching on the legs with or without an accompanying rash
• Brown patches on the lower legs and feet
• Ulcers on the lower legs
• Varicose veins
There are ways to prevent venous insufficiency by avoiding risk factors which include:
• Obesity – Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, puts pressure on the veins in the legs, raising the blood pressure, which in turn weakens the vein walls and valves.
• Inactivity –Daily exercise helps circulation.
• Smoking – Smoking weakens blood vessels causing several cardio vascular diseases.
• Long periods of standing or sitting – For example, teachers and nurses, who stand for hours every day, are at risk of venous insufficiency. The same is true for people who sit at a desk for long hours every day because the blood circulation is blocked.
Some causes of venous insufficiency cannot be prevented such as heredity, old age, and gender. Statistics show that 80 percent of women over 50 years have some venous insufficiency, while men may not develop it until they are 70 years or older.
There are several different treatments for venous insufficiency, and during a consultation with our specialists, the right treatment for you will be recommended. The selection of the treatment will depend on your age, your specific symptoms, the severity of your condition, and how well you tolerate procedures and medications.
If your symptoms are mild, you may be asked to wear compression stockings to help improve circulation and reduce swelling. You may also be asked to exercise regularly, even if it is just walking each day and to raise your legs whenever possible.
More severe symptoms may be treated with sclerotherapy, where the vein is injected with a chemical that collapses the vein so the body can absorb it to make the vein disappear. If the varicose vein is deep inside the leg, surgery may be recommended.
If you have one or more of the symptoms of venous insufficiency, we recommend that you visit any of our Peripheral Vascular Associates locations in Texas to let us check it out. We can treat your varicose veins and spider veins, and in most cases remove them completely!