CVI, or chronic venous insufficiency, is a condition when blood pools in the superficial veins in the lower extremities. Weakened or destroyed valves in the veins are responsible for this pooling because they can no longer effectively pump blood upwards and fight gravity.

Contrary to popular belief, CVI can occur even without the presence of varicose veins. Extended periods of high pressure in the legs, including long periods of standing or sitting, can increase CVI’s prevalence, along with vein congenital defects and deep vein thrombosis.

Symptoms of CVI

Edema, ongoing leg pain, and ulcerations are some of CVI’s symptoms. Moreover, if you’re experiencing ankle swelling, constant leg tiredness, calf swelling or tightness, or leg restlessness, it would be best to consult vein specialists to properly diagnose your condition.

CVI and Varicose Veins

CVI is often associated with varicose veins, which are veins that have become swollen enough to be seen through the skin. They often appear as blue, bulging, or twisted veins. Aside from aesthetic concerns, varicose veins can cause leg pain, night cramps, rashes, sores, and in severe cases, deep vein thrombosis. Serious cases of varicose veins can progress to CVI.

Varicose vein causes aren’t exactly known. However, there’s evidence that genetics are a major factor. Also, women of child bearing age are more likely to develop varicose veins due to changes in estrogen cycles. Varicose veins are also more common among older people. Varicose vein causes also include a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged standing, pregnancy, and weight gain. Although for most people this condition is painless, for others varicose veins cause leg pain, skin rashes, skin stains, and skin ulcers.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To properly diagnose CVI, vein specialists will ask questions about your general health, medical history, and symptoms such as ongoing leg pain. Vein specialists will likely take your leg’s blood pressure and examine any varicose veins. They may also prescribe a duplex ultrasound to confirm a CVI diagnosis.

Vein specialists will likely focus treatment on reducing leg pain or discomfort. CVI is treatable, especially in the early stages. They will likely recommend regular exercise, avoiding extended periods of sitting or standing, losing weight, compression stockings, elevating legs, practicing good hygiene, and taking antibiotics where skin infection is present.


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