Recognizing Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is a common physical condition that can present itself in a variety of different ways. Probably the most recognized symptom of CVI is the development of varicose veins. Chronic venous insufficiency can affect all age groups. It is ten times more prevalent than Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Studies show over 20,000 patients are diagnosed with venous ulcers each year. More than 30 million Americans live with varicose veins or a more serious form of venous disease called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). Only 1.9 million seek treatment annually meaning that the vast majority of cases go undiagnosed and untreated.

Varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency can be caused by many different factors. Among the most common risk factors are:

  • Advancing Age,
  • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis),
  • Extended Hours on Your Feet,
  • Female Gender,
  • Genetic Disposition (Family History),
  • Obesity,
  • Past History of Phlebitis and
  • Pregnancy

Other possible health factors include:

  • Constipation,
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy,
  • Hypertension,
  • Oral Contraceptives,
  • Physical Activity and
  • Smoking

Great Saphenous Vein 

The great saphenous vein (GSV) is a large vein located directly below the dermis and epidermis. Also called the long saphenous vein, it is a superficial vein of the leg. Running along the entire length of the lower limb, it is the longest vein in the body. The GSV returns blood from the foot, leg and thigh to the deep femoral vein at the femoral triangle. Due to its length, the great saphenous vein is often the site of chronic venous insufficiency. Weak or damaged valves can make it impossible for the vein to push the blood against gravity on its return trip to the heart. 

Diagnosing Chronic Venous Insufficiency

If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from chronic venous insufficiency, make an appointment today. Only a properly trained medical professional can properly diagnose and start you down the path to a symptom-free life. During your appointment, he or she will address your:

  • current general health condition,
  • past medical history and
  • symptoms.

The physician will also want to perform a physical exam.

An ultrasound diagnostic study may also be ordered to: 

  • determine the source of reflux,
  • check for venous occlusion or thrombus and/or
  • map the path of the incompetent superficial veins 

What Are Treatment Options For Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency has so many different type of treatments, and after observing your health, age and medical history, your doctor may recommend you these treatments:

  1. Endovenous Laser Ablation

This procedure is often used to treat problems like spider veins and varicose veins, but it can be used to treat venous insufficiency as well.

Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally invasive surgery, during the procedure your surgeon will insert a small tube inside your affected vein through an incision.

This tube will release heat inside your vein which will collapse it, when this happens blood pooling will decrease and your blood flow will be improved.

  1. Improving Your Blood Circulation

Although it’s not a medical treatment it’s still very effective, there are many methods that can help you improve circulation, such as:

  • If you keep your legs elevated then you can decrease dwellings and improve your circulation.
  • Some exercises like swimming and walking can increase your blood flow but avoid high impact exercises, they may can some side effects.
  1. Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure just like Endovenous Laser Ablation, However, your surgeon will recommend you this procedure if only your cases is serious.

In this process your doctor will inject a salty chemical inside your affected veins, this chemical will make your veins collapse and close, they may scar your veins too.

After this your treated veins will be absorbed by the body, then the blood can flow through the other veins which will prevent blood pooling and provide an improved circulation system.

Although it’s the most used treatment for varicose veins, some paitents may not get results therefore, in such situation you should take more than one sessions since everyone has a different body that’s why the treatment may work differently on everyone.

4. Compression Therapy

For vein related problem, Compression therapy is one of the most popular treatments. During this treatment your doctor will provide you with some special garments to apply pressure on your veins. Normally these clothes are used after any kind of surgery that includes incisions, so that the body properly heals, gets in the shape without any problem and remains protect from bacteria and infections. People who need to wear compression garment after surgeries cannot take them off until their doctor doesn’t advices. However, it’s not the same case with venous insufficiency, but still you need to make sure you wear these clothes as much as possible.

When you will wear these clothes, pressure will be applied on them which will help them reduce in size as well as reduction in swelling. Day by day the veins will start swelling and will start changing to their original size, which will easily help you defeat chronic venous insufficiency.

The duration to wear these clothes is different for everyone, so you will need to talk with your doctor first, then they will tell you how much time you need to spend with the compression garments.

When Should I Look For A Doctor?

When should I make an appointment with my doctor?

Consult your doctor if you have any of the risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency. Your provider can evaluate your risk factors and assist you in lowering them.

Keep all of your medical appointments if you have CVI, and follow your provider’s advice on when to return.

Contact your service provider if:

  • You have any concerns concerning your health.
  • You are experiencing new or altering symptoms.
  • Your compression stockings are too tight. There should be no clumping. Elastic stockings that don’t fit properly can aggravate your condition by cutting off blood flow in the place where they’re bunched up.

Can venous insufficiency occur in other parts of the body aside from the legs?

Yes, venous insufficiency can occur in other parts of the body aside from the legs. While it’s most common in the lower extremities, it can affect other areas where veins are present. This includes the arms, pelvic region, and even the face. In the arms, it may result from conditions like thoracic outlet syndrome. Pelvic venous insufficiency can cause discomfort in the pelvis and lower abdomen. Facial venous insufficiency can lead to visible veins or vascular lesions. The underlying cause typically involves damaged or weakened vein valves, which can occur in various parts of the body, potentially requiring specialized evaluation and treatment.

How does venous insufficiency affect the legs and circulation?

Venous insufficiency affects the legs and circulation in several ways:

  1. Damaged Valves:

The condition often starts with damage to the valves within the leg veins. These valves usually prevent blood from flowing backward, but when they weaken or malfunction, blood can pool in the veins.

  1. Increased Pressure:

As blood pools in the veins due to faulty valves, it increases pressure in the leg veins. This elevated pressure can cause the veins to expand and become varicose veins.

  1. Symptoms:

The increased pressure and pooling of blood can lead to various symptoms, including swelling, aching, heaviness, and pain in the legs. Individuals may also notice visible varicose veins.

  1. Impaired Circulation:

Venous insufficiency disrupts the normal circulation of blood in the legs. Blood may not return efficiently to the heart, causing poor circulation.

  1. Skin Changes:

Over time, the skin on the lower legs may develop changes like pigmentation, ulcers, or dermatitis due to the altered blood flow.

  1. Risk of Blood Clots:

Venous insufficiency can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs, posing a serious health threat.