Varicose veins aren’t merely a cosmetic issue. In fact, when varicose veins are left untreated, a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) may develop. In normal, healthy veins, blood is pumped back up to the heart by valves in the leg. CVI occurs when blood pools in the veins of the leg because of poorly functioning venous walls and/or valves.
The Cause of Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Age, extended sitting or standing, or a combination of both can cause CVI. Deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting in the deep veins of the legs), pelvic tumors, and vascular malformations can also cause chronic venous insufficiency. CVI occurs when the leg’s one-way veins no longer work against gravity by pumping blood back up to the heart.
The Symptoms of CVI
People with chronic venous insufficiency often experience the symptoms listed below. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, these symptoms may worsen, leading to burst capillaries and discolored skin, internal tissue damage, and ulcers and open sores on the skin’s surface:
- Aching or fatigue in the legs
- Leg pain
- Swelling in the lower legs and ankles (especially following a long period of standing)
- New varicose veins
- Flaky or itchy skin on the legs or feetRough and leathery skin on the legs
- Stasis ulcers (also known as venous stasis ulcers)
What You Can Do About CVI
According to the Vascular Disease Foundation, as many as 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men “have significant leg vein problems” by the age of 50. If you are experiencing the symptoms of CVI, here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk for developing ulcers and experiencing a worsening condition:
- Lose excess weight and exercise regularly to increase blood flow in the legs. (Walking in a pool is a great form of exercise because the pressure supports varicose veins.)
- Wear elastic stockings to promote healthy blood flow back to the heart.
- If you are required to sit or stand for a prolonged period, wiggle your toes, shift your body, and rise up on the balls of your feet to flex calf muscles.
Many people in the Phoenix and Goodyear areas have found relief through Venefit™ targeted endovenous therapy at Valley Vein Center. Learn more about this treatment option for varicose veins.
For a free varicose vein screening and consultation, call our office at 602-234-0004 to schedule your appointment.