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All About Venous Insufficiency and How to Prevent It



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. 

Causes of venous insufficiency

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.

Other factors that can lead to venous insufficiency include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sitting or standing for a long time
  • Smoking
  • Having a family history of venous insufficiency
  • Cancer
  • Muscle weakness or damage to leg due to an injury or a previous surgery
  • Lack of exercise

Symptoms of venous insufficiency

A person with venous insufficiency may experience the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Varicose veins
  • Itchiness or pain in the legs
  • Tightness in the calves
  • Muscle spasms or leg cramps that can be painful
  • Leg ulcers
  • Discoloration and hardening of the skin near the ankles

Treatment of venous insufficiency

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.

Prevention of venous insufficiency

The following steps can reduce your chances of developing venous insufficiency:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit tobacco use
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long period of time
  • Watch your body weight

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.


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North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic is a vascular surgery center located in Johns Creek, Cumming, Roswell, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. We stand out in professionalism and kindness. Our expert doctors and health care providers are known for their clinical excellence, experience, and can help you with the care you need. Our vein disease specialists offer a comprehensive examination that includes a physical examination, review of your symptoms, and discussion of your medical history. We use advanced venography techniques and provide effective treatment for several health conditions like DVT, Spider Veins, Leg Cramps, MTS, and more. Visit our website, connect with us on social media, or contact us to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for all your vascular diseases.