Varicose veins are most often looked at as a cosmetic problem. Yes, they may sometimes get sore or itch, but that’s not so bad, right? Truth be told, varicose veins could be a symptom of something potentially serious. Rather than see a vein specialist only to get rid of swollen veins, turn to this medical professional to learn more about your risk for chronic venous insufficiency.
What Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
The veins are part of the vascular system that carries blood throughout the body. Each vein has valves that help with the continual movement of the blood. Valves keep blood moving in the right direction, back toward the heart. If these valves stop working well, blood can flow backward and accumulate in areas of the vein. This is the process of developing varicose veins.
Chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins are not the same thing. One (insufficiency) can lead to the other (visible veins). Not everyone with varicose veins will go on to develop chronic venous insufficiency.
Symptoms to Look For
Varicose veins are one of the first symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency to develop. These are usually purple or dark blue, are bulging and twisted, and may ache. Additional symptoms may develop as the condition worsens. These include:
- A bruised appearance over the vein.
- Aching or leg cramps.
- A heavy sensation in the legs.
- Eczema near the vein.
- Leg swelling.
- Ulcers on the leg.
In later stages of chronic venous insufficiency, the texture of the skin often changes. The legs may look scaly or blistered and may develop open sores. A conversation with a vein specialist can minimize the chances of this happening.
Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency
The best way to manage chronic venous insufficiency is often to combine lifestyle habits with medical treatment to address varicose veins. Lifestyle habits should include exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing compression stockings as recommended by a vein specialist. Medical treatment aims to decrease the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency by closing off swollen veins. Treatment options at LA Vein Center include:
- Radiofrequency ablation