Chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI, is a medical condition that is caused when the valves and walls of the veins in your leg are not able to work properly. This makes it extremely difficult for blood to get back to the heart after it enters the leg veins. The blood is supposed to flow upward towards the heart every time the feet and calf muscles contract while walking, but chronic venous insufficiency causes the blood to flow back down towards the legs. If the blood cannot get back to the heart, then it will start to collect in a pool in the damaged veins.
Damage to the leg veins needs to occur before getting chronic venous insufficiency. Some of the most common causes of valve damage are aging, extended periods of sitting or standing and any injury resulting in a lack of mobility. These conditions commonly lead to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, which are the two biggest causes of chronic venous insufficiency. This painful condition can also be caused by pelvic tumors.
The primary symptoms of CVI are swelling in the lower legs, varicose veins, itchy skin on the legs, stasis ulcers, numbness or aching in the legs and changes in the appearance of your skin on the legs. Chronic venous insufficiency is a potentially very serious disease, so you need to get checked out as soon as you start experiencing any of these symptoms. The problem is never going to go away without treatment, and the treatment process is just going to get more intense the longer you wait.
If you let your chronic venous insufficiency go untreated for an extended period of time, the swelling and pressure in your legs will continue to get worse. The pressure and swelling will continue to increase until all of the tiny blood vessels in your legs burst. This causes the skin on your legs to turn a red or brown color. Your legs will also become very sensitive to even the slightest touch. The burst blood vessels in the legs will eventually lead to inflammation, tissue damage, open sores and ulcers.
We will use a vascular ultrasound to determine if you are suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. Once we get a good look at your leg veins using the ultrasound, we will then start treatment as soon as possible. If your CVI is caught early, then it should be very easy to treat. Early cases can often be treated using compression socks, antibiotics, and other medications.
Serious cases will likely require a medical procedure to fix the problems in your veins. Once your chronic venous insufficiency is treated, you will still have to make some lifestyle changes to ensure that it does not return. Regular exercise, weight loss, eating a healthy diet and not smoking are the best ways to prevent this condition from occurring again.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and are concerned about chronic venous insufficiency, come in for a visit at the South Texas Vein Institute in Edinburg. We can help diagnose your condition and then come up with a treatment plan that is right for you. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment to learn more.