Listen To Your Legs: They Could Be Telling You Something Important about Venous Insufficiency

Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our lives are busy. There are so many things competing for our time and attention that it can be easy to overlook minor leg cramps, swelling, or even skin discoloration.  Maybe you feel throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in your legs at night. Or you may have an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move your legs when you’re trying to sleep.

What you might not know is that all these symptoms can point to a hidden circulatory problem with significant health implications: Venous insufficiency.

Listen to Your Legs

Venous insufficiency affects the forward flow of blood through your leg veins and can lead to swelling, cramping, aching, or even leg fatigue. This is usually caused by blood leakage through faulty valves in your leg veins. That causes too much pressure to build up in the veins and can be the cause of skin discoloration and other signs of problems.

In healthy veins, blood flows efficiently from the limbs and back to the heart; valves inside the veins in the legs prevent the backward leakage of blood.

Venous insufficiency can be caused by disorders like deep vein thrombosis, your family history or injury to the veins. There may or may not be obvious signs of an underlying vein problem such as varicose veins. It’s important to pay attention to the signs your body uses to inform you of problems. Are your legs telling you something?

What Are The Symptoms?

  • Swelling in the leg (edema)
  • Cramping
  • Varicose veins
  • Skin discoloration on the lower legs, especially just above the ankle
  • Skin ulcers, sores that are slow to heal
  • Aching, burning, or throbbing in the legs
  • Leg weakness

Certain medications, prolonged immobility, occupation that requires prolonged standing and other risk factors can affect your circulatory well-being. If you fall into one of the following risk factor categories and are concerned about your veins, contact a vein care physician to make sure blood flow is properly circulating in your legs:

Risk Factors For Venous Insufficiency

  • Obesity
  • Family history of varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis
  • Age (The risk of venous disease increases with each decade)
  • History of multiple Pregnancies
  • Leg injuries
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cancer

Discover Treatment Options

There is good news for people who suffer from venous insufficiencies. There are several effective treatments — like prescription-wear compression stockings, which apply pressure to the ankle and lower leg to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. A vein care physician can help you to choose the compression strength and stocking size that is right for you. If you have a skin ulcer associated with your venous insufficiency, your doctor can prescribe medicated wraps to reduce swelling while treating the ulcer. Other conservative treatments include: elevating your legs above your heart while lying down, exercise, and weight loss.

Often, there is an underlying problem that can be corrected with an office-based procedure to stop the symptoms. This can provide lasting relief of the symptoms of venous insufficiency and prevent further damage to the skin that can ultimately lead to a venous ulcer.

Venous Insufficiency Prevention

  • Regular exercise, especially walking or running
  • Maintain a healthy body mass index
  • Avoid standing or sitting in one place for extended periods
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting

If you would like a venous insufficiency screening, please fill out this contact form and someone from the office of Dr. Suzanne Jones will get back to you promptly.

Schedule A Consultation today!

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