Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when there is disruption of the normal flow of blood within the veins over a long period of time. Veins carry deoxygenated blood, with all the by-products of metabolism (the ‘used blood’), back into the body, where the blood is then cleaned in organs such as the liver and kidney. Then, they carry the blood back to the lungs to be reoxygenated. Ultimately, veins carry blood back to the heart. When the veins are not working properly, blood is not carried back into the body as quickly as it should be, and may pool in the lower parts of the body. This happens when the vein walls stretch too much (i.e. with varicose veins) or when the valves within the veins are not working properly (i.e. varicose veins, damaged valves from blood clots, congenital issues). Overtime, when the “used” blood is pooling within the veins, the tissues around the veins start to get damaged. This happens because of inflammation in and around the vein due to the stretching of the vein and the contents of the blood itself, as well as due to the increased pressure within the vein since more blood is collecting within that vein. Typically, the damage due to the chronic inflammation of venous insufficiency is seen in the lower legs.
Exercise, eat a healthy diet, lose weight (if you are overweight), avoid long periods of sitting or standing, and wearing properly fitted compression stockings will all help decrease your risk of CVI and/or slow down the progression of CVI if it has already started. If you are concerned about CVI, come into our vein clinic to consult with a vein specialist today.