On the surface, it’s embarrassing to have those red, blue, or purple veins crawling all over your beautiful legs like spider webs or bulging knotted ropes. You feel self-conscious, awkward, and you have a desire to shirk from society.
Varicose veins can also be extremely dangerous. The tiniest of scratches can lead to unstoppable bleeding, your skin turns hard and scaly, and you develop leg ulcers, i.e., non-healing wounds on your legs.
Most people think that spider veins and varicose veins are a purely cosmetic issue caused by old age.
But that’s not true.
They are indicative of an underlying disease called Chronic Venous Insufficiency.
Venous Insufficiency is an extremely dangerous medical condition. It may simply be annoying in its early stages, but it can quickly progress and turn lethal if left untreated.
In this article, we offer a thorough overview of what venous insufficiency is and how to identify its signs and symptoms. If you have venous insufficiency, you’ll be able to receive diagnosis before it’s too late.
What is Venous Insufficiency?
In normal veins, blood pushes up to the heart by muscular contractions. Tiny flaps called “valves” inside the vein open one way for blood to travel upwards. They prevent reverse travel of blood flowing back down towards the feet.
Venous Insufficiency is a medical condition in which these valves turn “floppy” and fail to facilitate natural blood flow. As a result, the blood flows backwards — a condition called venous reflux — and pools in the extremities.
Venous reflux increases valvular pressure and stretches the veins, which leads to spider veins and varicose veins.
Some of the accumulated blood may also stop circulating, leading to a condition called Venous Stasis or the formation of painful blood clots within the veins.
If these clots break loose, they travel to the deeper veins and eventually travel to the lungs. This may lead to a potentially fatal medical condition called Pulmonary Embolism.
Venous insufficiency can quickly turn fatal if left untreated.
What are the Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is an extremely under-diagnosed disease because its symptoms — heaviness, itching, pain, etc. — are dismissed as regular effects of aging.
But as previously mentioned, venous insufficiency can progress quickly and turn lethal if left untreated.
So it is imperative for you to be mindful of its signs and symptoms and get tested if you notice any of them.
The symptoms of venous insufficiency are associated with accumulated blood in the veins.
You may experience heaviness and fullness of the calf. You may also feel a tingling sensation or leg restlessness at night. In some cases, you may even notice a slight discoloration of skin on your legs from restricted blood flow.
These symptoms generally worsen at the end of the day, especially after sitting or standing still for prolonged periods.
If your venous insufficiency progresses far enough, you may also notice extremely painful sores or ulcers caused by decreased circulation in your lower leg.
The clearest sign of venous insufficiency is the development of varicose veins, i.e., large bulging rope-like knots of veins on the surface of the skin.
This is a sign of considerably advanced venous insufficiency that requires immediate treatment by a vein specialist.
Stages of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
Stages of CVI are based on the type and severity of symptoms experienced.
There are three stages of chronic venous insufficiency.
- Stage 1: You experience swelling and skin discoloration.
- Stage 2: Your skin turns red and sore. Eventually, you feel intense itching, inflammation, irritation, and infections.
- Stage 3: Finally, you develop leg ulcers and large bulging varicose veins.
By the time you see the bulging and contorted veins under the skin, the vein disease is already in its final and most severe stage.
At this point, it is important to seek immediate treatment to prevent pulmonary embolism.
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Risk Factors for Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
Chronic venous insufficiency has multiple risk factors.
Some of these are lifestyle risks such as standing for long periods of time.
When you sit or stand for long periods of time, the blood in your legs has a harder time being pushed up against gravity. This allows more pressure to build up on the valves, increasing the possibility of venous insufficiency.
However, sitting or standing can only be a risk factor if you are already predisposed towards venous insufficiency.
The most crucial risk factors for vein disease are genetics and biological sex.
- Genetics: If your family members have venous insufficiency, there is a 90 percent chance that you also have it. The specifics are complex, but it relates to your body’s valvular composition.
- Sex: Females have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone which allows for more stretching. The female body needs to have this extra stretch, but it also makes the valves relatively weak, which increases the likelihood of venous insufficiency.
Other risk factors for vein disease include obesity, smoking, pregnancy, and age.
Treatment for Venous Insufficiency
If you have venous insufficiency, go for immediate treatment before it progresses and turns into a life-threatening condition.
Most venous insufficiency treatments are simple in-office procedures performed within 30 minutes.
Your initial visit allows your vein doctor to examine your condition, get a complete medical history, and run a Doppler ultrasound test to visualize your venous insufficiency.
Following the test, the vein doctor will offer his or her recommendation on the ideal treatment options for your specific case.
The most commonly recommended treatment procedures for vein disease are Radiofrequency Ablation, VenaSeal, and Varithena.
All of these treatments are minimally-invasive, non-surgical, and carry a negligible risk. Furthermore, they can be performed on an outpatient basis so that you can resume your daily activities immediately after the procedure.
When treating venous insufficiency, it is imperative to visit a reputable vein treatment clinic to eliminate the chances of side-effects.
At Vein Treatment Clinic, our Harvard-trained vein doctors are extremely patient. They study your condition carefully and examine your medical history to develop the perfect treatment plan for your specific needs. They use the latest minimally-invasive treatments to ensure a painless experience where you resume your daily activities immediately.
Don’t be embarrassed about your legs when you go swimming or hit the beach. It’s time to reclaim your youth.
Book an appointment to see a reputable vein doctor today.
Regain your Self-Confidence
We treat all our patients like they’re our only patients. Our Harvard-educated diplomat-certified doctors listen to your problems and examine your medical history to diagnose a treatment plan that’s meant just for you. They actively seek minimally-invasive treatments that conclude within an hour.
Regain your self-confidence and say goodbye to those welts and marks on your skin! Book a consultation at our vein treatment clinic in Houston today!