As many as 7 million Americans are currently diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a vein disease that interferes with circulation in your legs. Without proper treatment, CVI can quickly lead to more serious circulation problems, including life-threatening clots.
Ashish Pal, MD, and the team at Vein & Cardiovascular Center in Orlando, Sebring, and Davenport, Florida, regularly treat CVI, customizing treatment plans to achieve optimal results.
Early treatment is important, so here they review symptoms you should look for and treatments that can help you stay healthy.
About chronic venous insufficiency
Your veins contain tiny, one-way valves that open and close quickly to keep blood moving from your limbs to your heart and lungs. When these valves are weakened or damaged, blood can flow backward through the veins and pool, making it harder for blood to circulate normally.
CVI can happen in your deep leg veins, superficial leg veins, or the veins that connect these two systems, called perforating veins.
Varicose veins are one potential symptom associated with CVI. But when the condition affects your deeper veins, it can be harder to identify telltale signs that can help you get treatment.
Because CVI symptoms can be subtle at first, knowing what to look for is important to make sure you get treatment as early as possible. Common symptoms include:
- Leg pain or dull aching
- Numbness or “pins and needles” in your leg
- Leg cramps, especially at night
- Restless legs syndrome
- Skin discoloration, specifically a reddish-brown hue
- Swelling in your ankles or lower legs
- Itchy or flaky skin on your feet, ankles, or legs
- Skin texture changes
- Feeling of heaviness or fullness in your legs
- Sores that take a long time to heal (ulcers)
- Varicose veins
CVI symptoms can worsen as the disease progresses. A vein evaluation at the first sign of symptoms can help prevent more serious problems.
Since symptoms can be subtle, you should also know if you have CVI risk factors, including:
- Personal or family history of vein disease
- Older age
- Being overweight
- Smoking habit
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
Women may also develop CVI during pregnancy.
Treating chronic venous insufficiency
Dr. Pal uses a comprehensive physical exam, a review of your medical history and symptoms, and special imaging techniques to diagnose CVI prior to recommending treatment. After a CVI diagnosis, he determines the optimal approach to care.
Treatment depends on the severity of your disease and other factors, but most options focus on closing off damaged veins to reroute circulation to healthy veins nearby. These treatments are performed on an outpatient basis with little to no recovery time afterward.
This time-tested technique uses injections of special agents to irritate the vein lining, causing it to close.
Venefit uses a special device to deliver radiofrequency energy directly to the vein, gently heating it so it collapses.
VenaSeal uses a medical adhesive designed for vein treatments to seal off the damaged vein.
Once the damaged vein is sealed and no longer functioning, your body breaks down the vascular tissue and removes it over time.
Make vein health a priority
CVI and many other vein and artery diseases become more common with age. Having a vascular evaluation at the first sign of symptoms is the best way to prevent problems from causing serious complications.
If you have symptoms of CVI or any of the risk factors listed above, book an appointment online or over the phone today for your vascular evaluation with Dr. Pal and the team at Vein & Cardiovascular Center.