The arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, while the veins carry blood back to the heart, and the valves of the veins prevent the blood from flowing backwards. When the veins get impaired and fail to send blood from the limbs back to the heart properly, it is known as venous insufficiency.
In venous insufficiency, blood fails to flow correctly back to the heart, thereby causing the blood to pool and accumulate in the limbs.
What Are The Causes Of Venous Insufficiency?
In normal conditions the valves in the deeper veins of the lower limbs keep blood flowing towards the heart. With chronic venous insufficiency, the walls of the veins get weakened and the valves get impaired. As a result the veins stay filled with blood, particularly when you stand.
The etiological factors and risk factors for venous insufficiency are:
- Age, the propensity for venous insufficiency increases with age.
- Being female increases the risk. It is related to the level of hormone progesterone.
- Family history of venous insufficiency.
- History of deep vein thrombosis.
- Sitting or standing for prolonged intervals of time.
Symptoms Of Venous Insufficiency In Legs
The following are the signs and manifesting symptoms of venous insufficiency:
- Heaviness, pain or cramps in the lower limbs.
- Itching and tingling in the legs.
- The pain and discomfort in the legs aggravates with standing and reduces when the legs are elevated.
- Swelling of the legs.
- Skin color changes around the ankles.
- Varicose veins.
- Thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs.
- Wounds that tend to heal very slowly on the legs.
- Ulcers on the lower limbs.
Treatment Options For Venous Insufficiency
Your health care provider will recommend the following self-care guidelines to manage venous insufficiency. The following advice will help in mild cases of venous insufficiency:
- As much as possible try to wear compression stockings to in order to reduce the swelling and discomfort.
- Avoid sitting or standing for protracted periods of time. Moving the legs slightly keeps the blood flowing better.
- Appropriate care for your wounds is essential.
- Optimal weight management.
In very severe cases, the doctor will advise the following treatments to manage venous insufficiency:
- Sclerotherapy: Salt water or a chemical solution is introduced in to the vein, and following this the vein hardens and vanishes.
- Ablation: Heat closes off and destroys the impaired vein.
- Vein stripping: The damaged vein is stripped or removed through a surgical incision. Doctors will recommend this surgery if there is excruciating leg pain, the legs feel very tired, ulcers and sores have developed on the lower limb and the skin around the ankles have become hard and discolored.
- Bypass: This technique reroutes the blood around the occluded vein. A blood vessel taken from your body is used to make an alternative route around the impaired vein.
- Valve repair: The damaged valve is repaired surgically.
- Angioplasty and stenting: This technique opens an occluded vein. Angioplasty makes use of a minute balloon to broaden the occluded vein. The balloon presses against the inside wall of the vein to open it and augment the blood flow. A small metal mesh tube called a stent is then positioned inside the vein to prevent occlusion.