What are varicose veins (VV) and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)?
More than 30 million Americans, both men and women, suffer from venous disease including varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the leg veins become incompetent causing blood to pool in the legs. Varicose veins are one of the most common indications of venous insufficiency. If left untreated, it can progress to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which can then lead to progressively more serious and painful symptoms over time.
What are the risks factors of CVI?
Varicose veins and CVI can occur in anyone. However, increased age and female gender may increase your risk. Other risk factors include: family history, current or previous pregnancies, lifestyle that requires prolonged standing and lack of exercise or excess weight. Early diagnosis and treatment can add quality to your life.
What are symptoms of CVI?
The signs and symptoms of varicose veins and CVI are leg heaviness, aching or cramping, swelling, itching, tingling or burning sensation, restless legs, skin color changes and/or poorly or non-healing wounds or ulcers.
How is CVI diagnosed?
CVI is easily diagnosed by a good medical history, physical exam and non-invasive duplex ultrasound imaging.
How is CVI treated?
Only 1.9 of the more than 30 million CVI patients seek treatment each year. CVI can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise and loosing weight. Leg elevation, pain killers, graded compression stockings, laser and Sclerotherapy injections may be helpful. Venous stripping is highly-invasive surgical therapy. Minimally-invasive Endovascular ablation is an office-based, ~45 minutes procedure with no need for general anesthesia or hospitalization and minimal to no downtime resulting in immediate recovery but long lasting results.
What can you do?
As varicose veins are often misunderstood as a cosmetic problem, many people living with them do not seek treatment. The good news is that there are minimally-invasive treatment options available for varicose veins and CVI that are covered by many insurance plans. These treatments address the condition before it progresses further, allowing for a short, comfortable recovery and a quick return to everyday activities.
See below for images of varicose veins and the signs and symptoms of CVI.