What is venous insufficiency?

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency occurs when the veins in the legs do not return blood to the heart and upper body normally. Causes include long-term high blood pressure inside leg veins and blood clots in leg veins (deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis).

The veins in the body have valves that prevent blood from flowing the wrong way. These valves keep blood flowing toward the heart. Venous insufficiency means that the valves in the veins have become damaged, allowing blood to flow backward. This can cause fluid to pool in the legs. This results in swelling of the legs (lower extremities) and may cause varicose veins.

Symptoms of venous insufficiency include aching legs, swollen ankles, tight calves, or heaviness in the legs.

Self-care measures may relieve symptoms. These may include exercising regularly, wearing compression stockings, staying at a healthy weight, avoiding long periods of standing, and elevating the legs.

What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?

Symptoms of venous insufficiency affect the legs. Symptoms may include swelling (often in the ankles), cramping, aching, a heavy feeling in the legs, or varicose veins. You may also have skin problems like itching, sores, or changes in skin color.

How is venous insufficiency treated?

Your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings to help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may also suggest other steps to try at home, such as getting regular exercise. Medicine or a procedure can also be treatment options. Procedures can close the vein, remove the vein, or improve blood flow.

How is venous insufficiency diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose venous insufficiency by examining your legs and by using a type of ultrasound test (duplex Doppler) to find out how well blood is flowing in your legs.

How can you care for yourself when you have venous insufficiency?

Home care may help relieve your symptoms and improve blood flow. For example, wear compression stockings. Get regular exercise. Stay at a healthy weight. Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. Do not sit with your legs crossed at the knee. Prop up your legs above the level of your heart when lying down.

What causes venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is sometimes caused by deep vein thrombosis and high blood pressure inside leg veins. People who are pregnant, older, overweight, or have a family history of varicose veins are more likely to get it. So are people who smoke or stand for long periods of time.

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a problem with the flow of blood from the veins of the legs back to the heart. The veins of the legs might not work as they should. This can allow blood to leak backward. It can lead to problems that include varicose veins.

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