At Center for Advanced Vein Care, we offer care for a variety of vein conditions. One such condition is venous insufficiency. You may not be familiar with this health condition; if not, read on the learn everything you need to know to determine whether or not you should come into our vein clinic in Mentor, OH for evaluation.
What Is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a condition in which blood flow through the veins is too weak, leading to pooling blood in the legs. Your arteries are responsible for distributing blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins carry blood back from the rest of the body to the heart, and the valves stop the blood from going backwards. Venous insufficiency is when your veins struggle to send your blood from the legs and arms to the heart. There are a variety of causes of venous insufficiency, but it is most frequently the result of varicose veins or blood clots. There are several different vein treatment options for you, all of which are available through our vein clinic.
Causes of Venous Insufficiency
The most common causes of venous insufficiency are varicose veins or blood clots. When blood flow is obstructed, such as by a blood clot, blood builds up, and this can cause venous insufficiency. In the case of varicose veins, damaged vein valves cause the blood to leak backwards. Additionally, weak leg muscles may also cause venous insufficiency, as they cannot move the blood forward efficiently.
Certain people are more likely to develop venous insufficiency than others. For example, it is more prevalent in women than it is in men. Women between 40 and 49 are more likely to develop it, as well as men between 70 and 79. Beyond gender and age, there are certain other risk factors, which include:
- Blood clots
- Varicose veins
- Leg muscle weakness
- Leg injury
- Family history of the condition
- Sedentary lifestyle
Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency
The symptoms of venous insufficiency are:
- Leg or ankle swelling
- Pain that is worse while standing and better when raising your legs
- Leg cramps
- Aching, throbbing, or heavy feeling in your legs
- Itchy legs
- Thickening of the skin on your legs or ankles
- Color changes in skin, particularly around the ankles
- Leg ulcers
- Tight calves
- Varicose veins
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, come into our vein clinic in Mentor for diagnosis. Your vein specialist with perform a physical and take your medical history to determine whether or not you have venous insufficiency. You may also need imaging tests, such as a venogram or duplex ultrasound, in order to determine the source of your symptoms.
To perform a venogram, your physician will inject a contrast dye into your veins, which makes the blood vessels appear opaque on the X-ray, which helps your doctor see them more clearly. This allows your vein specialist to see what is going on in your veins more clearly.
A duplex ultrasound is used to test the blood flow in your veins. Some gel is applied to your skin, and then the ultrasound technician uses a device called a transducer against your skin. This uses sound waves to produce the images of blood flow, showing its direction and speed.
Several different factors will contribute to determining the best treatment method for you. Before deciding the best treatment, your doctor will take the following factors into account:
- The most likely cause of your condition
- Your medical history
- Your symptoms
- Your age
- How severe your condition is
- Your tolerance to certain medications/procedures
It is most common for the first treatment to be compression stockings. Compression stockings are a powerful tool that put pressure on the ankle and lower leg. They are specially designed to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. There are many different strengths and lengths at your disposal. Your doctor will determine which type of compression stocking is best for you. Other ways your doctor may treat venous insufficiency may include efforts to improve blood flood, including keeping your legs elevated and exercising regularly.
There are certain medications that can be helpful for venous insufficiency as well, including:
- Diuretics (promote fluid flow through your kidneys)
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Pentoxifylline (improves blood flow)
More serious cases of venous insufficiency may require surgery. Surgery may include:
- Surgical vein or valve repair
- Stripping (removing) the vein
- Endoscopic surgery (in which a surgeon inserts a small tube with a camera)
- Vein bypass (a healthy vein is transplanted to the damaged area)
- Laser surgery (uses a laser to fade or close the damaged vein)
Regardless of the type of vein treatment, we can provide it at Center for Advanced Vein Care in Mentor, OH. Contact us today for a free consultation!