Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is an ongoing condition that affects primarily the leg veins. It is caused by problems with the valves and/or vein walls. To learn more about chronic venous insufficiency, call Rejuveination today.
All veins have the job of sending blood back towards the heart to pick up more oxygen. Veins have valves to keep the blood flowing in the proper directions. In chronic venous insufficiency, those valves don’t work properly, so the blood collects in pools or even flows in the wrong direction. In both cases, the veins become distended and swollen; they become varicose.
Chronic venous insufficiency nearly always affects the veins in the legs. As the heart is well above the legs, the veins have to push the blood up. They are thus working against gravity.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include the following:
- Pain and/or feelings of heaviness in the leg
- Swollen ankles or lower legs, especially after long periods of standing
- Varicose veins
- Skin that looks leathery
- Skin on the feet or legs that itches or flakes
- Ulcers or persistent sores
How is CVI diagnosed?
We will start by taking the patient’s medical history and performing a physical exam. We may use a hand-held device called a transducer to perform a vascular ultrasound and check the circulation in the legs. We will place the transducer over the skin, and it will emit ultrasound waves that bounce off the veins. The transducer is hooked up to a computer that will record the image produced by the sound waves. We will thus be able to see the vein and the blood flowing within it. We can make note of how quickly the blood is moving and if it is flowing in the correct direction.
In some cases, our doctor may order other scans like X-rays.
How is CVI treated?
Since both smoking and obesity can cause CVI or make it worse, our doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like exercising or quitting smoking. We will also recommend that the patient take breaks from sitting or standing a long time to relieve the pressure on their leg veins. For example, a patient who has to sit a lot should periodically stretch or wiggle their legs, ankles, and feet.
Our doctor may recommend compression stockings or socks that help the blood flow by increasing the pressure on the legs. Compression stockings come in different lengths, styles, and degrees of tightness. Our doctor will recommend the best type.
Our doctor may prescribe a medication to prevent blood clots. If the patient has ulcers, we may prescribe an antibiotic to treat them or any infections. If the patient has spider or varicose veins, our doctor will usually recommend a procedure like sclerotherapy or endovenous thermal ablation to eliminate them.
To learn more or schedule a consultation, call Rejuveination today! Our office is conveniently located in Cincinnati.