Venous Insufficiency

Chronic Venous InsufficiencyVenous Insufficiency (also known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI) occurs when the venous wall and / or valves in the leg are not working properly causing blood to pool in the legs, resulting in swelling. It's estimated that nearly 40 percent of people living in the United States are living with CVI at any given time (the majority being women and people over 50). Chronic Venous Insufficiency won't get better if left untreated and can become very serious, potentially leading to venous stasis ulcers.

 

Who is At Risk for Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

While anyone may develop CVI in their life, there are several risk factors that increase the probability of developing it.

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Varicose veins or a family history of varicose veins / CVI
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Inactivity
  • Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • Female sex
  • Age over 50

 

What are Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency can include:

  • Swelling in the lower legs, especially after prolonged sitting or standing
  • New varicose veins
  • Aching, heaviness, or tiredness in the legs
  • Flaky or itchy skin of the legs
  • Skin of the legs appears leathery
  • Venous stasis ulcers

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect that you may have CVI, please consult with your medical professional.

 

Can I Prevent Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

If you are at risk for developing CVI, there are some guidelines that you can follow to attempt to lower your risk:

  • Quit smoking if you smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid prolonged periods of standing or sitting
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Lose weight if you are overweight

If you suspect you are at risk for CVI, you should consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet or routine.

 

Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Treatable?

Chronic Venous Insufficiency has a variety of treatment options available, depending on the stage of the condition:

  • Compression stockings
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid extended periods of standing or sitting
  • Elevate your legs while laying down or sitting (so that your legs are above your heart)
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Antibiotics or medicine (to treat infection)
  • Practice good skin hygiene
  • Non-surgical treatment (i.e. sclerotherapy or endovenous thermal ablation)
  • Surgical treatment (i.e. ligation and stripping, microincision / ambulatory phlebectomy, or vein bypass)

Always consult with your medical professional for more information or before beginning any treatment plan.

Read more about Chronic Venous Insufficiency at Cleveland Clinic