The human body’s circulatory system consists of the heart, blood, and the blood vessels. There are three types of blood vessels — arteries, veins, and capillaries. The veins are responsible for carrying blood from the rest of the body (organs and extremities) towards the heart for oxygenation. Several problems may arise with how the veins do their job, one of which is venous insufficiency.
What is venous insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency occurs when the veins in the legs are not effective anymore in transporting deoxygenated blood to the heart. Often, this has to do with damage in the one-way valves within the veins, allowing blood to flow backwards in the veins instead of continuing upwards to the heart. Venous insufficiency may result when the valves are severely damaged.
What causes venous insufficiency?
Advancing age and genetics are common predisposing factors of venous insufficiency. The presence of blood clots, high levels of estrogen in the body (use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy), obesity, and prolonged periods of inactivity can also increase the risk of venous insufficiency.
What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?
Recognizing the symptoms of venous insufficiency is crucial to early diagnosis and treatment. Signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency include the following:
- Noticeable swelling on the lower legs and ankles, particularly after prolonged periods of standing
- Persistent fatigue or aching in the legs
- The appearance of varicose veins
- Flaky, itchy, and/or leathery-looking skin
How is venous insufficiency treated?
Relief of the symptoms from venous insufficiency may be achieved through regular physical activity, constant elevation of the legs, and consistent use of compression stockings. If these interventions do not help, minimally invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy and laser vein treatments may be necessary. Surgery may be done as a stand-alone or in combination with other minimally invasive treatments.
Call us at (619) 420-1840 to learn more about treatments for venous insufficiency today!