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Venous insufficiency


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Venous insufficiency occurs when blood supply from the veins of legs to the heart is poor due to improper functioning of the venous valves. The condition is also known as chronic venous statis.


Symptoms of venous insufficiency

  • Swelling in legs and ankles due to accumulation of blood
  • Tightness in leg muscles – especially in the calves
  • Pain in legs during movement – while walking or running
  • General tiredness and cramping in legs
  • Varicose veins
  • Change in color of the skin especially near the ankles
  • Itchiness and flaking of skin of the leg and feet
  • Ulcers in legs


What causes venous insufficiency?

Several medical conditions can affect the functioning of the venous valves that regulate blood circulation. They are:

  • High blood pressure in the veins of the legs
  • Standing or sitting for prolonged time
  • Deep vein thrombosis- occurrence of blood clot in the deep veins of legs
  • Swelling and inflammation in the superficial veins of the leg
  • Family history of varicose veins

Risk factors for venous insufficiency are:

  • It occurs mostly at older age- above 50
  • Females are more vulnerable to venous insufficiency than males
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Obesity or overweight


Complications of venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency if not treated early might become chronic. It gradually affects tiny capillaries of the legs, thereby causing them to burst. Another complication is formation of venous statis ulcer.  


Diagnosis of venous insufficiency

Your doctor will physically examine the symptoms in and around your legs and ask for your medical history. Let your doctor know if you have been subjected to standing for long hours or have incurred injury in legs.

Diagnostic tests for varicose veins are: Doppler ultrasound to evaluate blood flow in the veins of the legs. You might also need to undergo venogram wherein a dye will be injected into the veins and X ray would be done to detect the complication.


Treatment for venous insufficiency

There are several lines of treatment for venous insufficiency which depends on factors like- cause, severity, medical history and the age of the patient.

Your doctor would give you compression stocking to release the pressure from your legs and regulate normal blood flow. Along with this, diuretics might also be given to enhance venous flow of blood.

Another line of treatment for severe venous insufficiency is- sclerotherapy, wherein a chemical or saline water is injected into the affected veins and blood flow is redirected to a normal functioning vein.

Surgery is also an option for treating chronic venous insufficiency which involves stenting or angioplasty, ligation, vein transplant, heat ablation, bypass surgery and microphlebectomy.


Home care of venous insufficiency

You can eliminate the risk factors and follow the instructions to avoid accumulation of blood in your legs.

  • Avoid standing or sitting for a long time. Remember not to press your legs or cross your legs against each other while sitting
  • Exercise regularly. Focus on different types of feet and ankles movements for stabilizing venous blood circulation
  • Keep your legs slighting elevated while lying on your bed. Use a pillow underneath your feet or use a foot rest while sitting on a chair
  • Lose weight if you are overweight

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 14, 2014