CVI occurs when the veins or valves in the leg veins are not working correctly, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. This can result in blood pooling in the veins, which can cause swelling, inflammation, and even blood clots.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)?
What are the symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Some common symptoms of CVI include:
- Leg pain.
- Itching or burning sensations in the legs.
- The skin on the legs may become discolored.
- Leg ulcers in severe cases.
The severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the stage of the condition.
What causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
The veins in our body are responsible for returning blood to the heart from all organs. In the legs, the blood needs to flow upward from the veins to reach the heart. To facilitate this, the calf muscles and the muscles in the feet contract with each step to squeeze the veins and push the blood upward. Your veins have one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing back down.
When these valves become damaged because of aging, extended periods of sitting or standing, or a combination of aging and reduced mobility, it can lead to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This occurs when the weakened valves allow the blood to leak backward, making it difficult for the blood to flow up to the heart. As a result, blood pressure in the veins stays elevated for prolonged periods, which can lead to the development of CVI.
CVI is usually caused by damage to the veins or valves in the legs.
What are the risk factors Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
If you have risk factors for CVI, you are more likely than other people to develop the disease.
In most cases, CVI is hereditary, meaning it can run in families.
Other risk factors can include:
- Age over 50
- Prolonged standing or sitting
- Sedentary lifestyle
An estimated 40 percent of people in the United States have CVI. It occurs more frequently in people over age 50 and more often in women than in men.
If you are at risk for CVI or are experiencing any symptoms, it is important to see a vein doctor. At Region Vein, we perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and order diagnostic tests to determine if you have CVI.
Treatment for CVI
Treatment for CVI may include lifestyle changes, such as:
- Exercise and weight loss
- Compression stockings
In many cases, these measures help very little if at all. These lifestyle changes are typically recommended as a first-line treatment by insurance companies, prior to approving definitive treatment.
It is important to manage CVI to prevent complications such as blood clots, skin ulcers, and infections. With proper treatment and management, most people with CVI can live normal, healthy lives.