Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a common type of vein disease that afflicts the legs. The condition is characterized by the poor function of vein walls and valves in the leg veins, which can lead to painful or uncomfortable pressure buildup in the feet, ankles and calves.
When oxygen-rich blood is delivered to the legs through arteries, the blood supply must return back to the heart for oxygenation, and it must work against gravity to do so. Venous insufficiency results when the tiny valves inside the leg veins are unable to maintain a single direction of blood flow to the heart. Blood leaks backward, collecting or pooling in the legs and creating a number of painful or uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Generally, patients will complain of pain and discomfort during the early stages of the disease. Symptoms may taper off in the middle stages before increasing again in the more advanced stages. Pain and discomfort can occur continuously or in episodes that come and go.
Several factors are associated with the development of venous insufficiency, including age, gender and family history. Women over the age of 50 are most at risk, as are individuals who spend most of the time on their feet. EMS, retail, and food service careers that require excessive standing can contribute to the development of chronic venous insufficiency. Pregnancy, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors.
If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of CVI, schedule a consultation immediately to speak with a professional about your condition.