Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins are moving blood insufficiently from organs and muscles against gravity to the heart for oxidation. The condition occurs when the tiny valves that are in the veins cease to function properly to block the blood from flowing backwards and the vein walls are damaged so they also do not function properly. When the blood does not flow, it pools in the veins, causing them to bulge and twist. This is called stasis and is the cause of varicose veins.
The main symptoms of venous insufficiency are:
• Edema or swelling of the lower legs and ankles
• Pain in the legs that is worse when you stand and reduces when you put your feet up
• Cramps in the legs
• Itchiness that seems to have no cause
• Aching and heaviness in the lower legs
• The skin on the ankles seems thick
• Pigmentation on the ankles and lower legs
• Ulcers that are difficult to heal and form near veins
• The calves feel tight
• Varicose veins have developed
Venous insufficiency may not pose a serious health risk at first, and may be controlled with non-invasive treatments, but it is recommended to have your veins checked by a specialist in order to know how serious it is and if you need treatment.
There are several treatments for venous insufficiency depending on the severity of the condition, your overall health, your age and any other considerations. Prescription compression stockings are the most common treatment. They put pressure on the surface veins to push the blood through the interior veins. Lifestyle changes may also be prescribed if the condition is not severe.
Other treatments for venous insufficiency are:
• Medications that thin the blood or draw excess fluid from the body
• Surgery, if the case is serious
• Sclerotherapy, in which a solution is injected into the affected vein to damage the vein wall and make it collapse. When this happens, the blood naturally flows through healthy veins and the damaged vein is absorbed slowly by the body until it disappears.
Lasers or radiofrequency energy may also be used as well as catheters to transmit the solution deep into the vein. It all depends on your unique situation.
You may be developing venous insufficiency without any symptoms. It is recommended to get a professional diagnosis as soon as you think you may be developing varicose veins so that you can deal with the condition before it becomes a serious health risk. If this sounds like you, visit the South Texas Vein Institute in Edinburg. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more.