Venous insufficiency means the veins in the legs are not working properly to send the blood from the feet back to the heart and lungs to become purified. This is because the valves in the veins that are connected to the vein walls and help push the blood along become weak. When the blood does not move, it starts to collect in the veins causing stasis, which may lead to varicose veins.
There are several causes of venous insufficiency, but heredity is the most common cause. It is more common in women than in men. The University of Chicago Medical Center says that women commonly develop venous insufficiency in their forties and men in their seventies.
Other causes are related to lifestyle issues that inhibit blood circulation, such as:
• Long hours of standing or sitting may block blood flow. When you stand for long hours at your job, the veins need to work harder to push the blood up your legs. Over time, the veins wear out and blood may start to pool in the veins. Jobs such as nurse, teacher and retail sales are examples of jobs that may require continuous hours of standing.
• The opposite is also true. Long hours of sitting can cause high blood pressure in the legs and make the veins work harder.
• Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, taking birth control pills and menopause, may cause the valves in the veins to overwork and become weak.
• Obesity is unhealthy for many reasons because it makes the heart constantly overwork. Excess weight around the waistline also puts pressure on the veins in the legs, making it extra difficult for the heart to pump the blood up the legs.
There are several symptoms of venous insufficiency that may appear before obvious symptoms, such as varicose veins, appear. Some, but not all, of the most common symptoms are:
• Swollen ankles
• Itching on the lower legs
• Aching lower legs
• Red or brown patches of skin on the lower legs and ankles
• Leg pain that is relieved when you raise your legs
These symptoms can be diagnosed and treated before serious issues arise. During a consultation with our expert at Vein Specialists of Pittsburgh, you can learn about your particular symptoms and any treatment options.
We offer several treatments for venous insufficiency. The best treatment will depend on your specific symptoms, your age and the severity of your condition. There are non-invasive treatments that we do as an outpatient procedure in our office in Oakmont. We may also prescribe compression stockings and certain medications. You may start by improving the blood flow in your legs by getting regular exercise, not crossing your legs when sitting and elevating your legs whenever possible.
If you believe you are developing venous insufficiency or if you already have varicose veins, we may be able to help you improve your circulation and remove unsightly veins. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more.