Chronic venous insufficiency usually occurs when your leg veins can no longer transport blood back to the heart. Several reasons can lead to its occurrence. The valves in your veins are responsible for keeping your blood flowing in the right direction as long as they’re still healthy and not damaged.
However, blood can flow in the opposite direction when your veins sustain injuries, causing dangerous leg congestion. As a result, your legs may swell or in some cases, develop varicose veins. Dr. Lawrence, a vein specialist and vascular surgeon in Youngstown, Ohio, explains what you should know about venous insufficiency and its remedies, including lifestyle changes such as walking.
What Causes CVI?
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a venous disease in which the legs’ veins sustain damage that renders them ineffective in controlling blood circulation. Blood pools in the veins of the legs, causing excessive pressure in the veins. The leg veins that suffer damage, leading to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) include;
The deep, large veins in your body run through your muscles.
Veins near the surface of the skin or superficial veins.
Perforating veins that connect your deep veins to your superficial veins.
CVI can present fewer symptoms at first. Over time, however, it can affect the quality of your lifestyle and lead to several dangerous consequences.
Comparing Post-Thrombotic Syndrome With CVI
Both terms describe a similar condition where your leg veins sustain damage. The post-thrombotic syndrome refers to CVI secondary to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the veins of the leg. The term “post-thrombotic” refers to the time after the blood clot, called a “thrombus,” forms. Once the blood clot has dissolved, scar tissue may remain, damaging the vein.
People who’ve suffered a deep vein thrombosis have a higher risk of developing post-thrombotic syndrome, which often manifests within a year or two after the thrombosis. The risk is about 20 to 50%.
What Is The Prevalence Of Venous Disease?
The venous disease has a relatively high prevalence. For example, varicose veins affect about one-third of all adult patients. Nearly one in fifty people who suffer from varicose veins annually develop chronic venous insufficiency.
It is also worth mentioning that people older than 50 are more likely to suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. The older one gets, the greater the risk becomes. About 1 in 20 people will generally suffer from chronic venous insufficiency.
Effects of VI On The Body
Venous insufficiency decreases the amount of blood transported from the legs to the heart. Without therapy, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) puts pressure on the leg veins, creating pressure to the point where the capillaries in the skin rupture. When this happens, the skin in this area turns reddish-brown and is more likely to tear if you scratch or touch it.
These ruptured capillaries can have the following consequences:
Inflammation of the tissue in the affected region.
Ulcers due to venous stasis.
Cellulitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that can develop if you do not seek treatment as soon as possible. Ulcers resulting from venous stasis are challenging to heal. Therefore, there is a risk of infection. In the worst case, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues.
Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Some symptoms and signs of CVI are:
- Painful or tired legs
- A tingling or burning sensation in the legs
- Wake up with cramps in the legs
- Discolored skin with a reddish-brown tint
- You may also experience edema in your ankles or lower legs, especially toward the end of the day or after standing for long periods
- Your legs and feet may develop scaly or itchy skin
- A feeling of fullness or heaviness in your legs
- Leathery appearance on the skin of the leg
- Open sores that appear near your ankles. Note that infections can develop if you are very uncomfortable with them
- Varicose veins
The development of scar tissue in the lower leg can result from severe edema. The scar tissue prevents fluid from leaking out of the body tissues. You may feel that your calf is swollen and taut when you touch it. If this is the case, there is an increased risk of chronic ulcers.
Even if you do not have to deal with all these problems at once, there’s a good chance you’ll experience just one or two. Remember that signs or symptoms may vary depending on how the disease progresses.
CVI Treatment Options
Chronic venous insufficiency is an uncomfortable condition that can lead to severe pain. Your overall well-being may suffer as a result of the pain. Fortunately, there are treatment alternatives for CVI that require minimally invasive procedures as treatment options.
In addition, competent physicians may recommend other measures to accompany your treatment, such as activities you can participate in at home. These include regular exercise and other lifestyle improvements.
1. Lifestyle Changes: Walk To Stay Active
If you struggle with chronic venous insufficiency, your doctor may advise you to exercise. You can achieve smooth blood flow by engaging in uncomplicated activities, such as walking around your neighborhood or riding an exercise bike for thirty minutes several times a week. These activities do not have to be extensive. Physical activity promotes blood flow throughout the body and is essential for strengthening leg muscles.
These exercises help pump blood from the legs to the heart, as they should. When you try to relax your thigh and calf muscles, you significantly improve blood circulation to specific areas of your body. That said, walking goes hand in hand with other lifestyle changes such as weight management and other leg exercises such as leg elevation.
2. Compression Therapy
Compression therapy helps relieve symptoms of leg edema and pain. Compression bandages and stockings may provide some relief from symptoms associated with CVI. In general, they improve the functionality of your veins and relieve some of your symptoms. Note that you will need a prescription to purchase tight stockings.
Treatment options such as blood thinners, antibiotics, and medicated wraps are critical to treating CVI.
4. Non-surgical Therapy
Sclerotherapy and endovenous thermal ablation are two examples of nonsurgical therapies for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
5. Surgical Therapy
These include options such as ligation and stripping, microincision, and venous bypass are options for treating CVI.
Individuals who experience any of the above CVI signs or symptoms should seek medical attention. Your doctor will assess any risk factors and advise you on reducing them. Chronic venous insufficiency is a progressive disease that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. It is, therefore, worth seeking medication in good time.
If you have been suffering from vein disease for a long time, you are undoubtedly experiencing discomfort and want relief. Fortunately, Dr. Lawrence has extensive experience in handling vein complications. He can recommend a range of treatment options to help you overcome the symptoms of CVI. Feel free to peruse his website and learn more about his offerings. Better yet, you can give them a call.