About 40% of all Americans have chronic venous insufficiency. Causes and risks factors include genetics, obesity, pregnancy and hypertension (high blood pressure). It is more likely to effect women and those over 50.
The way your vascular system works is arteries bring blood in, veins bring blood back to your heart. When you have venous insufficiency your veins are not bringing blood back properly. Each vein has a valve, and when your vein is dilated (enlarged) the valve of the vein is not able to push blood back up. This causes blood to flow in both directions, causing blood to pool in your legs. This is when symptoms can occur.
Symptoms of venous insufficiency in the legs include:
- Varicose veins or spider veins
- Heaviness, aching, tightness or fatigue
- Discomfort, pain, or swelling
- Numbness or itching
- Skin texture or color changes
- Ulcers or wounds on the legs and ankles that have trouble healing
Without treatment, signs and symptoms may worsen
To diagnose venous insufficiency, a vein specialist will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam, carefully checking your legs for varicose veins or related signs. A simple venous ultrasound can determine if you have venous insufficiency or not.
Restoring Healthy Blood Flow and Correcting Venous Insufficiency:
Advances in medical techniques have produced a variety of minimally-invasive treatment options that can be performed in a non-surgical sitting by your vein doctor. Most of these methods are covered by standard health insurance plans, and can be completed in just 30 minutes.
How Venous Insufficiency can be treated:
- Conservative Therapy: weight loss, exercise, compression stockings. These techniques may successfully reduce the appearance and discomfort of varicose veins, however they unlikely address the underlying disease.
- Radio Frequency Ablation: This method relies on heat to close unhealthy veins so blood can be rerouted.
–Douglas Rothrock, M.D.