Our circulatory system works to keep the heart pumping and blood flowing. Arteries bring blood out of the pumping heart, and the veins carry the blood back to the center. Valves guide this continuous cycle and regulate blood flow, ensuring it flows in the right direction. When veins don’t function like they should, blood may be unable to go back to the heart; this condition is known as venous insufficiency and requires medical attention. Here’s more about this concerning but treatable vascular condition.
Symptoms and Causes
With venous insufficiency, the vein walls and valves are damaged, causing the blood to stop flowing and pool in the legs. You may have venous insufficiency if you are experiencing:
- swelling in your legs or ankles
- dull throbbing ache
- constant leg cramps
- visible varicose veins
- itchiness and tingling
- skin changes
- weakness and pain, especially when moving
If you have experienced a blood clot before or have a personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis, then you are at greater risk of experiencing this condition. Other causes of venous insufficiency include:
- standing or sitting for an extended period
- muscle weakness or trauma from an injury
- swelling of a superficial vein, also known as phlebitis
Treating Venous Insufficiency
Compression Garments and Medication
To treat venous insufficiency, your doctor will recommend compression stockings to create pressure in your legs that helps the blood flow properly. Compression stockings help prevent blood clots and are especially helpful if you plan on sitting or being immobile for long periods of time. Medications and injections for improving blood flow and preventing blood clots may also be recommended depending on your lifestyle and the severity of your condition.
If your condition persists or becomes worse, your doctor may recommend the following procedures:
- Sclerotherapy, which is a common method for treating vascular disorders. In this quick procedure, the targeted vein is injected with a solution, causing scarring and redirecting the blood to healthier veins. The targeted veins will then shrink and dissolve.
- Microphlebectomy is the removal of medium to large veins through a small incision in the leg. Veins that are too large for sclerotherapy yet too small for invasive surgery benefit from this procedure. As such, recovery is quick and the procedure effective.
- Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy. Through the guidance of ultrasound imagery, this procedure treats veins that are not visible on your skin, as well as large superficial veins.
- Endovascular Laser Ablation – EVLA – employs laser technology to cauterize and seal the affected vein. EVLA is a great option for those who prefer a minimally invasive procedure without fear of stitches or scarring.
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA). Similar to EVLA, radiofrequency ablation shuts down a problematic vein using radiofrequency energy.
- Venaseal™ Closure System. Instead of thermal energy, this minimally invasive procedure uses a special medical adhesive delivered through a catheter and is effective for treating a small saphenous vein and preventing further nerve damage.
There are ways to prevent your risk of developing venous insufficiency; start by exercising regularly to promote blood circulation and maintaining a healthy weight to prevent excess pressure on your legs and cardiovascular system. Move around every once in a while instead of sitting or standing for an extended period and don’t cross your legs when sitting. Also, try to keep your legs elevated whenever possible to relieve pressure and strain.
Vascular Disease Interventions in Florida
Venous insufficiency can cause complications if you do not take care of it in its early stages. Contacting a vascular specialist is crucial to know more about what to do for venous insufficiency and other vascular conditions. In Tampa and Largo, Premier Vein & Vascular offers all of the treatments mentioned above, plus Medispa aesthetic treatments for body sculpting and spider veins. At Premier Vein & Vascular, we make sure you receive the complete diagnosis, treatment, and care for venous insufficiency and other vascular conditions. Call us at 1-888-VEINCARE or book an appointment online and receive the best health service to treat your vascular conditions.