What is Chronic Venous Disease?
Chronic venous disease or chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that causes the veins of the legs to prevent blood from traveling back to the heart. Normally the valves in veins move blood back to the heart and do not allow it to travel away from the heart. (Arteries move blood away from the heart.) When the valves in veins become disordered they can cause blood to flow in both directions. Problems with these valves can cause blood to pool in the legs which when left untreated can lead to stiffness, swelling and painful ulcers.
Symptoms of chronic venous disease can be similar to symptoms of other conditions. It is important to get a professional diagnosis to avoid the risk of letting a more serious condition go unnoticed. The range of common symptoms includes;
– Varicose veins
– Tightness in the calves
– Swelling in the ankles
– Itching and pain in the legs
– Brownish colored skin near the ankles
– Leg ulcers that resist treatment.
Your doctor should determine the type of treatment based on your signs and symptoms, age, general health and medical history, the progression of the disease, and your response to specific therapies and medications.
Improve Circulation in the Legs:
Elevating the legs to ease the flow of blood to the heart, or compression stockings to assist vascular tension are the most common and least invasive treatments.
Diuretics, medicines that draw fluid from the tissues of the body through the kidneys for elimination via urine. These are indicated in instances where heart failure and kidney disease are contributing factors.
This treatment is reserved for those with more advanced venous conditions and include chemical injections into the affected veins. This causes scarring which permanently disables the disordered veins. Healthy veins will then take over and return blood to the heart normally while the scarred veins are reabsorbed by the body.
Surgical interventions are recommended in less than 10% of chronic venous disease sufferers.
– Ligation: Affected veins are tied off or removed.
– Vein transplant: This involves replacing disordered veins with healthy veins from other parts of the body.
– Surgical repair: Some veins may be repaired surgically through an opened incision or via a long catheter.
Diagnosing this disease begins with a physical examination and full medical history. Additionally, your physician may wish to use a Duplex ultrasound or Venogram.
Chronic venous disease is most prevalent amongst the obese, pregnant women, and those with a family history of the disease. Any previous traumas such as blood clots, injuries or surgery will raise an individual’s likelihood of developing the disease. Other common causes are high blood pressure, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, phlebitis and deep vein thrombosis.