Your leg pain could be more than just a nuisance. If you have pain, swelling, or discomfort in your legs, you may be suffering from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a common vein disease that affects roughly 40 percent of people in the U.S. When vein walls and valves in the legs become weak or damaged, they don’t function properly, leading to poor blood flow and pressure buildup in the feet, ankles, and calves.
The veins in your legs have a formidable job to do. They must work against gravity to transport blood back to the heart for oxygenation. When the tiny valves inside the leg veins become weak, they are unable to maintain blood flow in a single direction to the heart. This blood that leaks backward pools in the legs and creates a number of uncomfortable symptoms that comprise CVI.
What Are Common Symptoms of CVI?
- Leg pain
- Leg swelling
- Leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Restless legs syndrome
- Leg ulcers
- Skin discoloration
- Heavy legs
- Leg fatigue
How Do Patients Experience Symptoms of CVI?
Patients will often notice symptoms in the early stages of the disease, which can get worse as the disease progresses. It’s important to seek treatment as early as possible if you notice symptoms of CVI. Getting treated early can go a long way in preventing serious complications.
In some cases, symptoms may come and go in the middle stages of CVI, but don’t take this as a sign to not seek treatment. Symptoms often worsen as the disease advances, and in severe cases, untreated CVI can result in infections and internal tissue damage.
Who Is at Risk of Developing CVI?
Many factors can contribute to the development of CVI. Age and gender can play a role—women over the age of 50 are most at risk. Lifestyle is also a factor, as people who spend the majority of the day on their feet experience venous insufficiency more often. This includes people who work in roles such as emergency medicine, retail, and foodservice. Obesity, pregnancy, and living a sedentary lifestyle are also contributing factors.
Are you concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of CVI? Reach out for a consultation with our expert interventional radiologist.