It is a common complaint of people with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI): The legs feel painful, cramped, and swollen. It’s very difficult to go about your day if you have these symptoms.
Chronic venous insufficiency is due to poor blood flow in the veins. The veins are supposed to carry the “used” blood from the cells back to the heart and lungs for reoxygenation, but in this condition there is a malfunction of some of the valves in the veins. These tiny valves push the blood back toward the heart. When they malfunction, however, the blood flows backward and pools in the veins (often in the legs), causing swelling and other uncomfortable symptoms.
People who have chronic venous insufficiency can experience swelling and pain in the legs and ankles, as well as cramping, skin changes, and the development of varicose veins and skin ulcers. The skin of the legs may feel tight and itchy, and the uncomfortable feeling urges you to move your legs – and movement is indeed good for your circulation.
If you develop skin ulcers (where the pooled blood pushes up and through the surface of the skin, creating an open wound), it is highly recommended to seek treatment soon. Skin ulcers – which are also called “leg ulcers” if they occur in the leg – can be very hard to treat, especially if you wait too long for treatment.
How Can Venous Insufficiency Be Treated?
People who have chronic venous insufficiency should maintain a normal weight, because excessive weight can cause an increase in the pressure on the veins. This pressure contributes to their blockage and weakening.
Moreover, women who are pregnant, and people who have a history of leg injuries or blood clots are highly vulnerable to this condition. Untreated chronic venous insufficiency can lead to the development of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT), which most often occurs in the leg veins of the thigh or calf muscles. See a doctor for an evaluation in order to keep your veins and circulation healthy.
How to Prevent Chronic Venous Insufficiency’s Disabling Effects
Chronic venous insufficiency affects millions of Americans, but the good news is that people with this condition can find relief from pain, avoid the complications, and lead a normal life by making lifestyle changes that include:
- Keeping your salt intake to a minimum
- Drinking plenty of water
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking
- Wearing compression stockings
- Elevating the legs when sitting or lying down
Primary Care Doctors in Irmo, SC
Our internal medicine providers at SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation can help you improve your symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. We provide patient-centric care and customized medical solutions for our patients, including those who participate in our center for medical weight loss program right here in the Midlands.
Being an independent practice, we are able to provide a very personal and positive experience in our clinic. We take our time with you and get to know you in order to give the highest-quality healthcare.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our internal medicine doctors, call us today at (803) 749-1111 or fill out our online request form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!