When the valves and walls of the leg veins are functioning ineffectively, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can occur. CVI makes it hard for blood from the legs to return to the heart, causing it to pool. When this pooling of blood in the legs occurs, it is known as stasis. This condition is caused when the one-way valves in our leg veins become damaged, allowing blood in the legs to flow back towards the feet. Metro Detroit Cardiovascular Associates
CVI: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
This condition primarily occurs in women over the age of 50 but can affect anyone. Nearly 40% of United States citizens live with this condition. The leading cause of CVI is a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT defines the formation of a blood clot deep in the veins of the legs. When this occurs, it is known as post-thrombotic syndrome. Nearly 30% of patients with DVT will develop CVI within ten years of their first diagnosis.
CVI can also be the result of vascular malformations, pelvic tumors, and occasionally for unidentifiable reasons. The resulting failure of leg vein valves in restricting the backward movement of blood results causes blood to become sluggish in moving out of the legs. This, in turn, results in swollen legs.
If you spot any of the following, CVI may be a concern:
- Ankle and legs that swell after long periods of standing
- Tiredness or aching in the legs
- Newly formed varicose veins
- Leg skin that is leathery in appearance
- Legs or feet that flake or itch
- Stasis Ulcers (venous stasis ulcers)
The long-term consequences of CVI can be quite severe, and the treatment can be complex. This makes it imperative that you report any symptoms to your doctor as soon as you notice them. As the disease progresses, both severity of symptoms and the complexity of treatment will advance. It will not go away over time, and the sooner you begin treatment, the greater the likelihood you’ll avoid serious complications.
When left untreated, you will experience increasing swelling and pressure in the legs. This will continue until the capillaries, the tiniest of your blood vessels, in your leg burst. This results in the skin overlying the area becoming reddish-brown in color and prone to breaking is scratched or bumped.
Is It Time To Schedule A CVI Test For Your Symptoms?
When you report symptoms of CVI, Dr. Gottam will schedule you for an exam. During this exam, your medical history will be gone over and your legs closely examined. A duplex or vascular ultrasound may be used to test circulation in your legs. A device known as a transducer is often used to create an image of the vein with soundwaves. The results of testing will determine the presence of CVI. If identified, our team in Detroit, MI, will go over the potential treatment options with you. Once an approach has been determined, a treatment plan will be devised to help address the condition. Call our clinic today to arrange an exam if CVI symptoms are present.