Varicose veins, those unsightly, bulging lines that protrude above the skin’s surface, are often caused by an underlying condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when blood does not flow properly from the veins in the lower legs to the heart, causing blood to pool in the lower extremities. CVI is a potentially serious condition that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and possible complications if left unchecked. Identifying the problem is the first step to finding effective treatment and restoring healthy blood flow to the area.
Causes of CVI
Your veins are responsible for pushing blood from the various areas of the body back to the heart. Tiny valves inside the vein keep blood flowing in a single direction and maintain a healthy pressure in the vessels. CVI develops when these valves wear out or become damaged over time, so they cannot work as efficiently.
This condition is particularly prevalent in the veins of the lower legs, where the valves must work even harder to push blood against the flow of gravity back to the heart. When the valves stop working properly, blood can begin to pool in those vessels, causing swelling and the formation of varicose veins.
Symptoms to Watch For
Some people may not know they have CVI, especially in the early stages, because the condition may not present with any noticeable symptoms. However, if the condition remains unchecked, the following symptoms may eventually appear:
- Heaviness or aching in the legs at the end of the day
- Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot
- Night cramping or restless leg syndrome
- Texture and color changes to the skin
- The formation of open sores around the ankle
Diagnosing the Condition
Diagnosing CVI is a relatively straightforward process for a physician specializing in vascular conditions. A special device known as duplex ultrasound can measure the flow of blood through the vessels, noting any areas where blood is not flowing properly. The test is non-invasive and painless, and can provide a wealth of information to your physician about how well your blood is moving. A physical examination may also be performed by your physician, particularly when there are visible varicose veins to evaluate.
Treating the Problem
Once CVI is diagnosed, treatment for the condition will likely be recommended. At Incredible Veins Skin & Body, we offer a number of minimally-invasive vein treatments, including:
- Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
- Radiofrequency Technology (Venefit)
- Ambulatory Microphlebectomy
Our treatments are customized to the unique needs of each individual patient and performed by Dr. Ebrahimi and his experienced staff. Most treatments involve little or no discomfort and you can be back to regular activities by the next day. To learn more about diagnosing or treating CVI, contact Incredible Veins Skin & Body at 818-446-2995.