What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

No one should have to suffer from the physical and emotional pain that stems from various vein conditions. We say both physical and emotional because not only do vein diseases cause pain and discomfort, but they also can result in embarrassment, self-consciousness, and frustration.

Regardless of whether you have unsightly varicose or spider veins, or have a condition such as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), the experienced medical team at Fox Vein & Laser Experts is here to help make you not only look better but feel better too.

You may be more familiar with varicose and spider veins than you are with Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Varicose veins are thick, look like a twisted rope bulging out of the skin, and are blue and/or purple in color. Spider veins are smaller, thinner veins that are blue, red, and brown. Both of these veins can be seen on the surface of the skin, most often in the legs, and can lead to throbbing, swelling, itching, fatigue, ulcers, and general discomfort. Chronic Venous Insufficiency is a bit more complicated, as it occurs on a much more in-depth level. While varicose and spider veins are superficial, CVI is both superficial and deep within the leg veins. It occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are no longer working properly or effectively, which means that blood is not easily able to make its way to the heart from the legs. When CVI occurs and the blood is not able to flow freely, it starts to build up and pool in the veins referred to as stasis. Sometimes varicose veins can accompany CVI, but this is not always the case.

What causes CVI?

So how does someone develop CVI? First, you need to understand that veins’ main function is to bring blood from our organs to the heart. Blood that comes from the organs in the lower half of our body obviously has to flow upward, so there are special veins in those parts of the body that have valves that only go one way: up. When these valves are damaged or become weakened, they cannot properly move the blood in the right direction, and the blood becomes stagnant where it is, leading to increased blood pressure in those particular veins, which ultimately leads to CVI.

One of the ways that someone can develop CVI is from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is a condition there is a blood clot deep within the leg veins. When CVI occurs as a result of DVT, it’s known as post-thrombotic syndrome. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 30% of people with DVT will end up also developing CVI sometime within 10 years of being diagnosed.

CVI is most commonly seen in people over 50 and occurs in women more than men. Some of the symptoms are similar to those of varicose and spider veins, including swelling, aching, and tiredness in the legs. Additional symptoms include skin that flakes, itches, or looks leathery and the formation of new varicose veins. It’s extremely important to see a Fort Lauderdale vein doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms, so you can be treated right away to prevent further complications. Without treatment, symptoms will only get worse and the problem will continue to prevail.

There are many precautionary measures you can take to lessen your chances of developing CVI, such as maintaining a healthy weight and a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding cigarettes, sitting or standing for too long of a time period, and restrictive clothing. Additionally, if you do have CVI but are still within the early stages, here are a few best practices to prevent the condition from worsening:

  • Wear compression stockings.
  • Make sure to exercise, or at the very least, take frequent walks, and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time. If sitting is unavoidable, make sure to get up every half hour or so to stretch your legs. If you need to stand for a long time, take breaks to sit down every once in a while and elevate your legs so they are above your heart.
  • Take antibiotics if needed to treat any skin infections.
  • Develop a good skincare routine to ensure good hygiene, focusing on moisturizing so your skin does not crack, flake, or break open.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that less than 10% of CVI patients need surgery for this type of vein condition. Instead, minimally invasive non-surgical procedures, such as sclerotherapy and endovenous thermal ablation, can be performed. Sclerotherapy is a quick and simple procedure that involves the injection of a medical solution directly into the vein which makes the valve walls stick together and seal. The blood then reroutes to healthy veins, and the treated veins turn into scar tissue that is naturally removed by the body and healthy tissue grows in their place. Endovenous thermal ablation is an incredibly effective treatment with a success rate of 98-100 percent. A very thin laser fiber is inserted through the affected vein through a tiny incision, and small pulses of laser energy are delivered to the vein, healing it and causing it to collapse and seal shut. The incision typically will not leave a scar, and there are no sutures needed following the procedure.

Both of these safe and effective treatments are offered at Fox Vein & Laser Experts, led by a top industry professional, Dr. Susan B Fox, D. O., RPVI, FSVM. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Vascular Medicine, and Phlebology, and is also a Registered Physician Vascular Interpreter, which means that she is certified to read vascular ultrasound studies. Dr. Fox was one of the first physicians in the entire United States to become Board Certified in the treatment of veins. When you choose Fox Vein & Laser Experts for your vein treatment, you know you are getting the best of the best in the industry.

With locations in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines, patients from all over Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, and even those willing to travel to our South Florida offices, have access to our medical team and top-of-the-line procedures and technology. When you are in need of a vein clinic, Fox Vein & Laser Experts is the place to go. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how our vein specialist can bring you relief from any discomfort and distress you have been feeling because of your vein condition. Call 954-627-1045 or request an appointment online.