Ideally, blood flow through your body is a one-way journey in a closed loop, starting and ending at the heart. However, venous insufficiency is a condition where blood flows backward and pools, typically in your legs.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) results when valves in your veins start to fail. They play the role of backflow preventers, closing so that blood continues moving forward under normal conditions. When problems arise, you may experience symptoms ranging from minor cosmetic issues to serious health complications.
MD Vein & Skin Specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating CVI. When you begin to detect signs of vein problems, make an appointment for an examination with Dr. Clement Banda to protect your future health.
How CVI develops
Vein blood movement in your feet and legs must also work against gravity when you’re in an upright position when you’re sitting or standing in a fixed position. The motion of blood through your legs is almost exclusively due to leg muscle contractions that power movement within the veins. It’s one reason why walking is so good for your health.
Whereas blood moves to parts of the body from the heart mostly from the heat pumping (heartbeat), vein blood returns to the heart when the heart is relaxed. Hence the movement of blood in the veins is by a symphony of different forces. Valves in the veins form an integral part of this symphony. When valves fail in the leg veins, blood falls back, often collecting in pools downstream.
You’ll develop symptoms such as:
- Aches and tiredness in your legs
- Fluid retention (edema) in the ankles and lower legs
- Overnight leg cramps
- Itchy, flaking skin
- Loss of leg hair
- Skin discoloration or texture changes
- Varicose and spider veins
- Open sores called ulcers on the ankles and legs
You may experience more than one of these symptoms if CVI progresses without treatment.
What to do about venous insufficiency
You don’t need to wait for symptoms or a diagnosis to work on reversing or preventing a CVI condition. If your legs start to feel tired and heavy as the day progresses, it could be an early warning sign of CVI, particularly if you spend long hours sitting or standing in a fixed posture. Consider these lifestyle changes to improve venous blood flow:
Walking, swimming, bicycling, and other low-impact activities added to your daily routine provide the muscle assistance your veins need to overcome CVI. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week, can make a significant improvement.
Since gravity works against you during the day, put it to work for you whenever you can by raising your feet and legs, preferably above the level of your heart. This takes the load off venous valves.
Itchiness and skin changes on your legs can be relieved or reversed with gentle moisturizers. Coconut oil is a natural alternative to runny lotions. Moisturize immediately after a bath or shovel over lightly toweled skin.
Compression socks or stockings can reverse the symptoms of CVI, though it may take some time to find the right pair that relieves symptoms while remaining comfortable.
Proper hydration improves blood viscosity and reduces your legs’ effort to move blood. Avoiding inflammatory foods like processed and fried foods while adding colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables creates vein and heart-friendly conditions.
When CVI advances past the point where self-care can stop its advancement, make an appointment with MD Vein & Skin Specialists. You can reach the office by phone or online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Banda. Book your session today.