If you are evaluated for varicose vein treatment, you will be tested for venous insufficiency with a procedure called duplex ultrasound so your doctor can determine exactly what type of varicose vein treatment you need. This test will also determine the order in which you receive different procedures if more than one procedure is necessary to fully treat your overall condition.
What Is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a scientific term used to describe any condition that results in inadequate blood flow in your veins. In other words, the blood in people with venous insufficiency has trouble getting back to the heart. When this occurs, gravity wins, at least partially so, and blood will pool (collect) in your lower extremities. As a result, you will experience swollen legs, ankles, and feet which may become quite painful at times and make you more lethargic than you would otherwise be.
Venous insufficiency is often called “chronic venous insufficiency,” or CVI, because it usually continues to re-occur “chronically” and continuously over a long period of time. Varicose vein treatment is almost always recommended in people with chronic venous insufficiency if it is causing pain and or interfering with the daily functions of life. This occurs, at least to some extent, in most people with chronic venous insufficiency.
What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
The most common cause of chronic venous insufficiency is the presence of varicose veins. Varicose veins form when the valves in the veins that prevent the back flow of blood become deformed and unable to perform their function fully. This can happen when the vein walls become weak and blood pools in them, putting enormous pressure on the vein valves to the point they become deformed. It can also happen during pregnancy where there is up to fifty percent more blood being carried by the veins because of the extra blood needed to feed the developing baby.
Chronic venous insufficiency can also be caused by the formation of blood clots in the veins. A blood clot can impede the flow of blood and cause the blood to pool, in a condition similar to that of damaged vein valves. However, it is important to note that blood clots are usually caused by and or associated with the presence of varicose veins. Blood clots in shallow veins are called superficial phlebitis. These are sometimes both types of blood clots are good reasons for seeking varicose vein treatment when you suspect venous insufficiency.
There is a third cause for chronic venous insufficiency that is sometimes under-diagnosed. This cause is weakness in the leg muscles. Weaker than normal leg muscles are often found in overweight and or inactive people who allow their muscles to atrophy. Weak leg muscles also become more of a factor in older people as they naturally lose muscle mass due to hormonal changes in the body.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Swelling in your lower extremities, also called edema, is the most commonly recognized telltale symptom of chronic venous insufficiency. However, there are several other associated systems you may even see before you realize why your legs are swollen. You may also see these symptoms in association with swollen legs. These include itchiness, throbbing, achiness, cramps, discolored skin, and the development of thicker than normal skin. You may also notice more pain and or fatigue when you stand for a while.
If you experience symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, it would be wise to seek an evaluation at a highly reputable varicose vein treatment clinic, like Metro Vein Centers. What may seem like symptoms you can just “live with,” they may very well be signs of something more serious happening inside your body. Metro Vein Centers provides free initial evaluations so there is no economic reason not to get checked out. Furthermore, the doctors at Metro Vein Centers are very experienced and savvy in filling out the paperwork necessary to get approval from your insurance company to pay for any varicose vein procedures you may need.
In addition to varicose vein treatment at a clinic, your doctor(s) may also recommend that you wear compression stockings. Please note that these are not the same as support panty hose and that your doctor will most likely actually write a prescription for MEDICAL GRADE compression stockings. Because there is a medical need, your insurance may cover all or part of the cost for medical grade compression stockings.
Your vein doctor(s) may also prescribe a special diet and daily exercise to lessen the effect of your edema by getting your blood flowing better. You will also likely be instructed to elevate your feet and legs as much as possible when you sit and avoid standing for long periods of time. In some cases, your doctor(s) may prescribe diuretics to take some of the fluid away and anticoagulants to prevent blood clots.