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Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and our veins carry the blood back to the heart. Venous insufficiency is a disease that occurs when your veins are not effective in carrying blood back to the heart. Veins have valves that prevent the blood from flowing backward. When these valves are damaged and do not function the way they are supposed to, they cause the blood to flow back and collect in the leg veins.
Though venous insufficiency may not be a serious health threat, it can cause swelling, pain, and disabling over time.
The most common factors that can lead to venous insufficiency are blood clots or varicose veins.
When there is a previous blood clot in the deep veins of your leg (also known as deep vein thrombosis), the blood flow through the vein may be obstructed. This can cause the blood to pool below the clot, resulting in venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins can lead to a condition known as phlebitis - the swelling and inflammation of veins close the surface of the skin. In such cases, the valves are often damaged or impaired, causing the blood to leak backward.
A person with venous insufficiency may experience the following symptoms:
Your doctor will examine your medical history and run some tests, like a Duplex ultrasound or a venogram, to assess the structure and blood flow in your leg veins. Based on the diagnosis, the following treatment options may be recommended.
You may be asked to keep your legs elevated, exercise regularly, avoid crossing your legs while seated, and wear compression stockings.
Medication – Your doctor may prescribe medicines that enhance blood flow through the vessels and heal leg ulcers. Medications like diuretics can help draw excess fluid from the body.
Surgery – In severe cases, the veins or valves may need surgical repair. If the vein is damaged, it will be removed – a process called vein stripping. The doctor may even recommend a vein transplant or laser surgery (a new procedure that uses laser technology to close impaired veins).
Sclerotherapy – Chemicals are injected in the affected veins, causing them to scar, so that they can no longer carry blood. Blood is then carried back to the heart by other healthy veins.
The following steps can reduce your chances of developing venous insufficiency:
If you seek effective treatment for venous insufficiency, visit our renowned vascular center in Johns Creek today. Call usat 770-771-5260 to schedule your appointment.