What Is Venous Insufficiency?
The veins in your legs carry blood back to your heart. They have one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward. If you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), the valves don’t work like they should and some of the blood may go back down into your legs. That causes blood to pool or collect in the veins.
Over time, CVI can cause pain, swelling, and skin changes in your legs. It may also lead to open sores called ulcers on your legs.
Causes of Venous Insufficiency:
A blood clot in a deep vein in your leg (called deep vein thrombosis) can damage a valve. If you don’t exercise, that can cause CVI, too. So can sitting or standing for long stretches of time. That raises pressure in your veins and may weaken the valve.
Women are more likely than men to get CVI. Your chances also might be higher if you are:
- Over age 50
- Pregnant or have been pregnant more than once
- From a family with a history of CVI
- Someone with history of blood clots
- A smoker
You may notice these in your legs:
- Swelling or heaviness, especially in the lower leg and ankle
- Varicose veins (twisted, enlarged veins close to the surface of the skin)
- Leathery skin
Without treatment, the pressure and swelling will burst the tiny blood vessels in your legs called capillaries. That could turn your skin reddish-brown, especially near the ankles. This can lead to swelling and ulcers. These ulcers are tough to heal. They are also more likely to get infected, which can cause more problems.
If you've experienced symptoms of CVI, Call (813) 909-0865 to schedule an appointment.